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July 31, 2006

Day 11,877: Dante's Seventh Circle Of Hell is actually kind of brown and twiggy

It's not enough that everything died during the heatwave ... the watermelons, the peppers, the basil, everything died and it wasn't from lack of water (I watered as often as I could without drowning everything) but the plants simply burned. The leaves had actual burn marks from the scorching sun. Nothing could take twenty straight days of 112, 118, 109, 110 degrees except the succulents and desert plants.

It was fine, ya'll. I made my peace with it and said, "Woo hoo, look at how big that cactus has gotten!" My cactus loves the heat, and so I love it. From afar, of course.

With the weather cooling down, however, I was sure the worst was over. Marine layer! Temps in the high eighties! Maybe stuff will grow again where once there was grass. Life regains a glimmer of hope. And with hope returns the will to shop, since I can safely enter the no-A/C hellhole also knows as "my Jeep" to run errands and go to the pet store and Target and get gas and life! is! grand!

Unless you are the hedges. More specifically, my hedges. Which were left unguarded as I threw caution to the wind and ran errands instead of holding fast and firm as the protector of all that remains green and alive in my yard.

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Image taken a while back, when my sprinklers flooded the backyard.


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The view yesterday afternoon, post-megaprune.

Posted by laurie at 8:58 AM

July 29, 2006

Neighbors

My backyard is long but narrow and butts right up against the back neighbor's yard, who lives one street over. This entire area is called Encino Park, and it's a warren of tree-lined streets set out in a grid, each filled to capacity with post-war homes, two-bedroom, one bath stucco houses with old crank-style windows. A lot of people ask my why on earth I want to live here, all these families, and the house is so old that I had to sign some sort of legal document when I moved in assuring the landlord and anyone else that I wouldn't eat the paint, which is apparently made of pure lead, so toxic it's a wonder all babies born to returning soldiers didn't have three heads and a glow-in-the dark disposition.

But this neighborhood reminds me of a smalltown place, one I might have lived in as a child, not the newer, bigger houses built in planned communities on the edge of town with names like "Sunnyside" and "Manor Glen," but the older part of town with houses built for families who worked "down at the plant" or the dairy or tannery or whatever else passed for industry in the South during the '60s and '70s.

The houses are small and you can see into your neighbor's kitchen as you look out the window while brushing your teeth in your own bathroom each morning. But because we live in a big and crowded city, or maybe because it's just the way folks in general have adapted to living so close to each other, we all pretend we don't see or hear the things that go on in our neighbors' homes.

Someone in the house behind mine is yelling.

She yells a lot, actually, I never make out all the words, and I'm glad, just her tone makes me on edge and I know she's inside her house and maybe the doors and windows are shut tight but I can hear her anyway.

Sometimes she's yelling at a man, and that usually ends with a door slamming and a car peeling out of the driveway, often so loud it sets off someone's car alarm nearby.

Sometimes she's hollering at a kid, and sometimes the kid cries or hollers back.

I guess I'm lucky because my father was never a yeller, he is a quiet man, so I don't know where my own volume comes from but let me tell you, there was a night when me and my husband (ex-husband) were living in that big house in North Hollywood that we couldn't afford, right after the dot-bomb and I was anxious and looking for work and I had found some things a wife does not ever intend to discover about her betrothed, and I let loose in a fairly good imitation of a wild banshee.

Oh, it's in there all right. I've often said that us Southern women are just Mack trucks disguised as powderpuffs.

I don't like feeling untethered, unglued, ready to pull tight and snap like a savage. I hear this woman yelling and I know she's right there, or maybe I'm just imagining it because I'm not from a yelling family so when it comes out loud and hard you suspect there is a nervous breakdown just under the surface, and maybe the bodies will end up stored in the fridge between the cold cokes and the glazed ham for dinner.

So anyway, she yells a lot. And she's doing it right now, carrying on and pitching a hissy and I feel terrible for her children but I also wonder what on earth brings us to such a place where that's the last resort, the only way to be heard, the sheer frustration in her voice makes me remember every single time I myself have felt that way, the stress or heat or pure futility of a thing.

I read an article last week that talks about how we save our worst behavior for our spouses or loved ones, treating them with less compassion and kindness than we would our assistant, or our co-workers. I vow to never do that, think maybe that was one of the contributing factors in the downfall of my marriage, I don't know, I never will know. But if my neighbors ever overhear me making noise, I want them to be hearing my laugh or my friends cutting up or middle-of-the-night sounds, and never, ever the yelling.

After all, no one wants to be wound that tight, no one wants to wonder what's packed in foil between the cold cokes and the glazed ham.

Posted by laurie at 7:19 PM

July 27, 2006

Less Than Zero (miles per hour)

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Public service announcement?

My favorite opening line from any book, well maybe aside from the opening paragraph of Lolita, is the first sentence from the Bret Easton Ellis book Less Than Zero:

"People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles."

Today I had to drive to downtown because I'm working late, later than the bus schedule runs, and I was settled in for my morning commute listening to a CD (you know it's going to be a good morning when you got some Usher to sing you to work) and drinking my coffee and the weather was hot but not too bad yet, kind of humid. But Usher likes it humid.

And I'm passing Laurel Canyon so it's time to get into the right two lanes, the Hollywood split is coming, and I look into the middle lane and I see only cars with out-of-state plates moving into it: Wisconsin, Kentucky, Maryland and I feel a little bad for them because they don't realize why everyone is merging either to the far left (the 134) or abandoning ship to the far right (the 101) and leaving this middle lane empty except for a few stragglers and 18-wheelers.

Then they discover why all at once. That stretch of freeway is Merge Hell, wherein people who did not manage to merge prior to the split now block the lane, anxiously hoping to nose in, but no one will let them in because having waited this long they have lost the right to merge, and often it's big trucks who nobody will let in so they have to take over with sheer force of will, and this whole dance can go on for quite some time. And the tourists are mad, and hate Los Angeles and some of them honk, while the person in the passenger seat holds a map and throws up their hands in disgust and really, you do feel a little bad for them.

I know I write about traffic a lot and it's probably as exciting to ya'll as watching grass grow unless you are one of the five readers who lives here, too. We take a perverse pleasure in our traffic, as if we have survived something every single day, and it truly is a huge topic of conversation.

Example A:

When Drew was here visiting last year, we were hanging out (in the car, on the freeway of course) with Faith, discussing Party Conversation Anxiety that can come from meeting lots of strangers at once. Faith and I assured Drew that if he ever got cornered with some folks he didn't know at a party anywhere in Los Angeles, all he had to do was ask how their drive was.

"Really," I told him, "All you do is say, 'Oh, so where do you live?' And they'll say 'On the Westside' or 'The Marina' or 'Van Nuys' and then you just ask, 'Oh! How was your drive over here?"

Drew looked at me skeptically.

"No, seriously, it's true," said Faith. "Just ask what freeway they took, or street, and they'll tell you for the next twenty minutes all about their drive."

"Yup," I said. "And then other folks will chime in, about their traffic, and how long it took to get to the party and how their commute is in the mornings and so on. It's great fun."

And we all had a big laugh about this and it was forgotten. Until the next night when we had a Los Angeles-type party at my house, and Drew was chatting with a bunch of folks and he told them this new strategy he'd learned, and was asking their opinion about it, was it true that all parties in Los Angeles begin with people discussing their traffic?

And everyone laughed, and agreed we're nutty here, and it was funny, hah hah.

And then everyone started discussing their traffic.

"You know, speaking of traffic, what was going on in the canyon? It's all blocked off for about a mile and is that mudslide/house/boulder/debris still blocking the road?"

"Well, why didn't you just take the 101?"

"Oh God! Hollywood Bowl tonight!"

"Oh! I forgot about that. We just came up the 405 to the 101 and took surface streets from there..."

I do not lie, people. I do not lie.

And Drew was tickled pink, because we were actually exhibiting crazy right in front of him. Personally, I love the way you can elicit sighs of deep, existential pain from folks just by mentioning "rush hour on the 405." I also love how traffic is a great excuse for just about anything, including my personal life. Which leads me to ...


Example B:
I was having lunch earlier in the week with a coworker, a nice married lady in my office. She wanted to know whatever happened to the 25-year-old Jamaican cricket player I had gone out with once.

"Oh, we went out once or twice, but it didn't really work out."

"Why not?" she asked. She likes to live vicariously through my little foibles. It's interesting the way dating always sounds like SO MUCH FUN when you aren't the one doing it.

"Oh, you know, he was 25. He used the word party as a verb. Which was kind of cute, but ... eh."

"Oh come on!" she said, "he sounds fun!"

Now, I could have tried to sit there over lunch and explain to this stable, nice, happily married lady and mother of two why I wasn't terribly taken with him, how it was like dating my little brother, how he could talk about his X-box for HOURS and still lived at home with his parents, and did I mention still lived at home with his parents? She would have thought this was "cute!" and "fun!" and "you single people really live it up!"

So I told her the one thing I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt would get her off the subject:

"Well, mainly it's just too hard, you know, he lives all the way out in Bellflower."

"Oooooh," she said, sighing. "God, it would be like, what? five hours just to get to Encino? Well, too bad, though, he sounded like fun."

People, I rest my case.

Posted by laurie at 11:28 AM

July 25, 2006

Big bag of crazy bones

Perhaps its the heat.

Today is the 20th straight day of 100-degree-plus heat in the Valley, and I woke my sorry self up at 4 a.m. to do laundry because although it was EIGHTY FREAKING DEGREES at 4 a.m., it was still a marked improvement over the 104 degrees at 9:30 p.m. last night, which was when I gave up on laundry once and for all again because of the heat and decided if I ever wanted to have clean clothes I would have to A) do laundry at 4 a.m. or B) go shopping. And ya'll, it is a sad day when it is too hot to SHOP.

So this morning, I pulled myself out from the air-conditioned house and did laundry (the washer and dryer are in the garage. The hot garage.) and now I have clean clothes but need more caffeine, and also maybe a little something for the tension, you know what tension I mean, the kind where you yourself may be holding it all together JUST FINE THANKYOU but the people around you are wrapped up tight and ready to explode, you see it in their eyes in long meetings or when you ask them for a copy of the brochure that so-and-so approved, and they look at you with crazy eyes and want to eat your head.

So I maybe need some relief from the tension, like with a couple of olives in it.

Which begs the question, what the heck happened to the three-martini lunch? Why did those go away? And why did our parents get to go out and have wild liberated sex with no diseases and get to drink martinis at lunch time and smoke wherever they wanted and ALL WE GET TO DO NOW IS MAKE SILLY WEBSITES COMPLAINING ABOUT THE LACK OF MARTINIS.

It must be the heat.

Posted by laurie at 11:31 AM

July 24, 2006

Fried Okra

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Now I know that a big, hot plate of fried okra may seem like an odd dinner when it is well over a thousand degrees outside (after all, shouldn't we be eating a popsicle followed by an ice-cold beer? Or just skip the popsicle all together?) but something deep down inside me was saying "Give me okra or give me death!" and one cannot deny their most base and animal instincts. Especially not where food is concerned, because it could be the harbinger of a giant okra shortage, or perhaps my body is crying out for the nutrients found only in the combination of fried cornmeal and hot oil. We may never know. The body is a mysterious thing.

So yesterday I drove to the store and scouted around for okra, and although the selection was limited to some slightly not-fresh overpriced pods, I snapped them up and took them home and ate a late dinner of nothing but fried okra, because I am fully committed to becoming a giant clogged artery disguised as a functional adult. I had a cold beer to go along with it too, it is summer after all.


Southern Fried Okra Recipe

You will need:
• A fair amount of okra
• Milk or cream
• flour (any kind, even rice flour or corn flour works)
• cornmeal (yellow or white, I use yellow)
• oil
• big heavy-bottomed frying pan

Select okra that is small and fresh, if you get the giant pods they'll be tough and not as tasty.

Before you do anything else, mix up your breading. I use about one part flour to two parts cornmeal. Maybe a little less flour. Season it with salt, pepper, Tony Chachere or any other all-seasing stuff you have on hand (season salt is fine in place of regular salt). I also add a little dash of cayenne pepper because YA'LL I AM CRAZY AND IT IS EFFING HOT OUTSIDE. May want to crank up the air conditioning.

Wash your okra, and slice each piece into little rounds, less than half an inch thick or so. Put the sliced okra in a bowl. Don't do anything else until you get your pan ready.


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Put your oil in the frying pan and start warming it up. I use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan about a quarter of an inch. This is probably not diet food. But! Crucial nutrients for ass-building are involved in the chemistry of deep-frying.

Now, while the pan is heating up, go back to your bowl of cut-up raw okra. Start adding a tee tiny bit of milk to the okra, and stirring it to coat it. It will instantly perform some kind of food-science thing that makes the okra get sticky. When all the okra is coated very lightly with milk, sprinkle in your breading mixture, and stir to coat all the pieces. Some of it will stick together in clumps, that's fine. I use a lot of the cornmeal breading.

Your oil should be hot enough for deep-frying -- test with one piece of okra. If the oil sizzles around it in little bubbles, you're ready. If the oil swarms around in a GIANT HUGE FRENZY to scorch the okra, your fire is too hot.

Add the okra to your pan in a shallow layer. Resist the urge to turn it immediately. Wait some more. After a bit, check on one or two pieces with a fork to see if it's golden-brown yet. If not, let a little while pass, and resist the urge to turn it again. You turn it over too quickly and you'll lose the breading. Once the okra is golden on one side, begin turning it over with a big spatula. Fry the other side up really good and drain the whole mess on a pile of paper towels.

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Eat and enjoy!

Posted by laurie at 9:42 AM

July 22, 2006

Summer.

It's half-past nine on a Saturday night and the digiital gauge outside says it's one hundred and one degrees. From my vantage point on the patio I can see a big patch of sky oveer my neighbor's rooftop, there must be clouds because the ambient light from the city is glowing purple, like it wants to escape but can't. When we were driving out here, moving to California, my parents and I stopped for the night in a tiny town on the outskirts of New Mexico and the sky was so huge you half wondered if you were lost even to yourself. I was scared of that much sky, maybe that's why I like the city. We have light pollution, but it feels harder to get lost.

I know I should be indoors where the air conditioning is, but I need to hear the crickets and traffic so I don't feel like a shut-in.

The sky is flashing with heat lightening, it lights up the rooftops and makes the hair on your arms stand up. I hate dry lightening, it feels creepy and then of course it's fire season. You can feel the electricity in the air but it won't rain, and my neighbor came by when I was out front, turning on the sprinklers, she asked me if I thought we were going to have an earthquake.

"I can't tell," I said.
"You're freaking me out," I wanted to say. But of course I didn't.

Her rooftop is the one I can see, lit up from time to time by the sky. When I was seven years old, a distant cousin and her husband took me to a tent revival in West Texas. You may think all Southern tent revivals are the same, but this one was held on a hot July weekend during a drought year, and the sky was crawling with streaks of heat lightening, no rain in sight. We were told to pray for rain, and I was seven and I prayed diligently. Later we ate baked beans and ribs at a long table and I got fussed at for getting barbecue sauce on my dress and it never did rain. Don't know why I'm remembering that now.

I turned on the sprinklers out back thinking it might make the patio cooler but all it did was make the night air thick and muggy. I like the way summer makes you feel slower and less hurried, it's a good time to remember things without giving them too much weight. You can't stand the touch of a sheet on your skin because it's so hot, and in that same way you never feel quite so lonely in the summertime, don't need a leg touching yours, don't feel terrible alone if it's just you and crickets and traffic.

Much.

Posted by laurie at 9:59 PM

July 20, 2006

Ten minutes from crazy.

Usually I keep my more dorky and insane details to myself, because my parents read this and even more so because my parents' friends might read this website, and therefore my general filter for whether or not I share a particularly strange tidbit of myself is measured against the following yardstick: Will my parents be dis-invited from cocktail parties because no one wants to make conversation with them about their daughter, Crazy McWeirdopants?

Potential Hostess: Hi! So glad ya'll could come to dinner. So, how is that daughter of yours? Still clinically insane?
Dad: Yes.
Hostess: Well, this is awkward isn't it? Jim, come get these folks a big jug of bourbon and the number of that doctor friend of yours in Jacksonville.

But I'm sharing the following story because sometimes even the clinically insane can make out like a bandit in beautiful, sunny Los Angeles, home of movie stars and swimming pools and crazy people.

See, I've come up with this new, not particularly endearing little quirk that has somehow infected my coworkers and now, I fear, is working its way through the wider world of high finance and onto the greater populace. My new quirk is also totally uncool, and plays into all the very unflattering stereotypes of people who spend too much time online.

I have developed some kind of Tourette's syndrome where I now refer to all sorts of foolishness as SNAKES ON A PLANE.

For example:

Cute Boss: Laurie, how are those mockups of XYZ going?
Me: I got the images about ten minutes ago, my deadline is five minutes ago, I AM SO SNAKES ON A PLANE!

or

Coworker A: The conference call isn't working because there's something wrong with the blah blah blah.
Coworker B: Have you tried dialing a new code?
Me: Have you tried SNAKES ON A PLANE?

You would think that a woman of my rather advanced age and total boringness wouldn't find such a thing as SNAKES ON A PLANE so hilarious. Yet it is the perfect one-size-fits-all phrase for just about everything. For all its nerdiness and dorkiness, suddenly this one phrase has captured the imagination of a generation! OK, yes that generation consists of "me" and also "a few fourteen year old boys who play World Of Warcraft in their basements every night while simultaneously trying to download free porn." But still! Imaginations firmly captured!

Of course my coworkers and my boss know I am sort of a harmless and occassionally funny nutjob who sometimes blurts out the word PORN in meetings, and so on, and this new affection for SNAKES ON A PLANE is certainly better than the alternative. Yet, to those who maybe do not know me and love me, I suppose I can seem ... a bit of a pickle.

Like, for example, to THE LAW. Who pulled me over yesterday evening to give me a ticket for possibly doing a California Roll at a stop sign. In my defense, I had just gone to get my nails done (ya'll! I am so girly, getting my nails done and all!) and it is also maybe a little true that I was admiring my own ballet slipper pink fingernails and really remarking on the artistry of it all, and surely I can forego cable movie channels for such a luxury, when I heard the siren and then saw the lights flashing and he was, I assure you, not pulling me over to ask for directions or recommendations for a good manicurist.

Law: Can I see your license and registration please?
Me: (whimper)
Law: Miss Lastname, did you not see the large, red stop sign that tells cars to stop?
Me: Yes, I know. I am SO SNAKES ON A PLANE.

silence

silence

silence

Law: YOU DID NOT JUST SAY SNAKES ON A PLANE!

Me: (whimper)

Law: "I am tired of these blanketyblank snakes on this blanketyblank airplane!"

Me: SNAKES ON A PLANE!!!!!

laughing

laughing

laughing

And ya'll KNOW I did not get a ticket. That's right you high-minded litterature-reading, high-brow art-film-loving people who look down upon me and my kind and our insanity! True, I may be CRAZY and also possibly losing IQ points, but I got my license and registration back and a nice friendly warning from a fine-looking office of the law, have I mentioned how much I love the law and their authorityness?

And while it is possible that I myself will not be invited to any cocktail parties by my parents' friends, I believe my folks will still get a free pass on this one, because everyone loves a good Evadin' The Law story, and also they can spend the rest of the night talking about SNAKES ON A PLANE!!!!!

Posted by laurie at 11:16 AM

July 19, 2006

Scientific Theory # 371: Heat and its relationship to bleeping traffic

i. IT'S NOT DRY HEAT
When the humidity is 56%, ya'll lose the right to tell me and the rest of Meltangeles that "Oh, it's not as bad in L.A. as it is here in The Other Armpit Of Hell, USA, 'cause it's a dry heat!" A hunnerd degrees and 56% humidity is not dry in this armpit. No sir.

ii. Ok, maybe it is smoggy after all
This is a case of "I can talk bad about my mama but you can't talk bad about her..." because now you're hearing people complain about the stickiness of this air, combined with its radioactive qualities, and it's brownness. We're practically chewing the air. Wonder if it has calories?

iii. Which brings us to the weather and driving hypothesis
That perhaps, with the insane heat and bizarre weather (read: humidity) and brown air and general hair-trigger irritability of the city, our driving skills have reached a new low only rivaled by the following Major Traffic Events: Daylight Savings Time (people forget how to drive in the dark), Rain (people forget how to drive when water falls from the sky), Halloween (people forget how to drive when they smell carbs in the air) and Valentine's Day (see: carbs in the air, plus possible sex and/or sexual frustration).

iv. Solutions for lessening road rage
While just about everyone in this smelly city would benefit from staying indoors and lying beneath the ceiling fan half naked with a cold beer and several episodes of Northern Exposure on the Tivo, one cannot refute the scientific laws of "Must Go To Work So I Don't Live In A Storage Shed." Therefore, if ya'll have to venture out, please for the love of all that is holy stay off the 101 ('cause that's my road, that is how I roll.)

If this is not possible, move post-haste to Section V.

v. The Courtesy Wave
I have given up any chance of bringing back the side ponytail, and have now moved on to reviving The Courtesy Wave. What is the courtesy wave, you ask? It's a small sign of acknowledgement -- that slight wave of the hand -- which tells the kind driver who allowed you to merge or switch lanes or pull out in front of them, that you really, really appreciate their kindness in a Blanche DuBois way.

The courtesy wave is not to be confused with the more common driving hand signals involving the middle finger. It stands alone as one of the single most powerful elements of driving sign language, because it's pretty much the only nice gesture left in driving.

So please, ya'll, my brethren in the brown air and WHY DOES THIS CITY SMELL LIKE AN OUTDOOR CATBOX? WHY?, please begin using the courtesy wave. It assures the driver who made a road sacrifice for you that he or she has been acknowledged, which in turn makes that driver more likely to let someone else merge in, and that someone might just be me. So, as you can clearly see, the courtesy wave is one thing we can all do to stick together in this traffic-infested world. That, and lie under the fan half-nekkid with a beer, but as I am at work I can't implement this strategy as it could be poor for my career advancement as clearly detailed in Section iv.

Science, people. It's all in the science.


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Posted by laurie at 10:17 AM

July 17, 2006

Obsessed, all over again. I feel so brand new.

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This is a photo of The Great Sobakowa taken about a month ago. She still looks the same. This picture is here in place of the pictures I took to accompany this column, yet in my fog and stupor of pre-caffienation this morning, I left my camera conveniently sitting on the table. At home. Nice.


Perhaps the best thing about my long break from knitting was that the very moment I picked up the needles and yarn yesterday, I fell in love with it all over again. The calm feeling you get from watching your project grow, the magic way yarn and sticks turn into fabric, the endless possibility.

I haven't knitted seriously in months (HA HAH HA!! I'm sorry, did I use the word "serious" and "knitting" in a sentence? Because I am such a serious knitter! Let me tell you about this complex garter stitch scarf I made once... really. It was so serious!) Anyway, I haven't knitted on a project in about five months.

Partially, I was busy with work and doing more driving (less time on the bus means less knitting time), and partly I think it just got so damn hot that I was uninspired. Or maybe this is the way it goes with crafting in general? You fall in love with it and obsess over every fiber and pattern and book, then one day you don't knit. And one day turns into a week and before long it's three or five months.

Yesterday it was eleventeen hundred degrees outside, so I cranked up the A/C and cleaned the living room and as I was dusting the bookcase which contains a fair amount of my stash, I saw the two beautiful skeins of Noro transitions that Linda at Yarnzilla had sent me. Transitions is one of my all-time favorite yarns, it appeals to my knitting attention deficit disorder on both a visual and tactile level: you see, in the world of Knitting ADD, you can't get bored with a project when the yarn changes colors sporadically. I have tested this theory out on myself. But Transitions changes fibers, too, and it's a truly beautiful yarn, a piece of art in itself. Last year I made a scarf out of one skein I'd purchased locally, and I wore that scarf all winter, it was definitely a favorite.

I placed the two Yarnzilla skeins of Noro on my coffee table as inspiration. But the knitting bug had bitten, again, and so while I was deciding what fabulous project to make with the Noro (read: scarf) (ya'll, consider the source, ok?) I delved into Stash City Annex and came out with several skeins of wool in different colors and a half-assed twelve rows of unfinished Kitty Pi I had started back in, oh, November? No, no, it was last October, because Annie was here and she showed me how to wrap and turn a stitch, and as I looked at the pile of yarn aspiring to be a cat bed, a mere twelve rows of knitting which had sat alone in a Ziploc baggie for months on end, I smiled because I remembered how much fun I had that evening, Annie and me having a beer, side-by-side on my sofa, the Knitting Goddess herself showing me a cool stitch technique! She was here visiting the week of my wedding anniversary, and she managed not to flee me and my craziness. This Kitty Pi had a history, ya'll.

And of course then there are the poor, pi-less cats here at Chez Poopsalot. My herd of felines has loved their first pi nearly to death, so I dug out my knitting instructions (Wendy, you are a genius) and got to work on the very serious business of garter stitching under the influence. The cats snuggled on the sofa, and I did have to adjust the temperature downward a notch on the A/C, twice, but it felt so good and comforting and happy to be sitting on the sofa, surrounded by yarn and pattern notes and watching a Tivo'd episode of "Mysteries From The Deep."

There's nothing like the feeling of safety and calm and happiness I get from such a simple thing, knitting in the round, feeling the yarn in my hands, occassionally sneaking a peek at my manicured hands with a smug redneck smile.

God, I love to knit. I do I do I do.

Posted by laurie at 12:20 PM

July 15, 2006

Perspiration is the key to success.

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There's Johnny Mountain!


I plan to stay indoors and drink iced tea until it's a proper hour to switch to an adult beverage and ... will someone remind me why I love the valley? Anyone?


Posted by laurie at 10:47 AM

July 13, 2006

Please address your hate mail to crazyauntpurl@delete.com. Thanks!

The July 2006 issue of Esquire magazine has an interesting cover story:

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That's me, with Esquire and my boughtnpaidfor nails...

The article and a few surrounding pieces focus on "The State of the American Man" and you can read it online here. I bought this magazine because when I was flipping through it while standing in line at the 7-11 (surprise!), I saw this quote:

We're faced with the accrual of a large population of boys who aren't well-prepared for either school or work. "The problem," says one advocate, "is what this will add up to in twenty years."

As soon as I read that, I said to myself, "Oh, my little 'advocate' ... you don't have to wait twenty long years to see what this will add up to! All you need to do is come to Los Angeles right now and try this crazy thing called dating." Of course, I kept that thought to myself, because I am a nice girl and also I am deeply sensitive to the amount of hate mail I could get for saying a thing like that out loud. I know I'd be instantly branded a bitter hag of a man-hater and fish/bicycle references would pour in.

Then yesterday I saw reader Susan's comment, in which she said:

I apologize PROFUSELY for the generally horrid job our local mothers have done raising thier sons to be decent dating material. May I offer up my three most valuable bits of hard-earned dating knowledge for avoiding "Los Angelenos Horrible Mannerus"?:

#1 - Beware the "we should hang out sometime" routine! If a man isn't going to get up the nerve to ask you on a proper date - how the hell's he gonna get anything ELSE up to do even more vital functions? Just smile and change the subject. If he's dying to spend time with you, he'll find the nerve to ask properly!

#2 - I always made my weekend plans by Wednesday at 10 pm. Firm. If the guy of the moment doesn't call by then, he's gotta wait another week, or until lunch on Monday (if he wants to buy me lunch!). This culls out the possibility of being a last-minute resort some Friday night when he's realized he's bored and his x-box hasn't got breasts.

#3 - To avoid the loathed "So, whaddya wanna do?" after you're in the car, ask "So, what's the dress code?" when you settle on a time for a date. "Is it a picnic, the movies....what should I wear?" Maybe it's just me, but I HATE guys who don't properly plan a date -- it's like a host that invites you to dinner, but expects YOU to plan the menu!

I know it's kind of bitchy and old-fashioned. But hey, in a town where it seems most of the guys are watching "Entourage" as a dating manual, a girl's gotta have skills to get respect.


It was as if Susan had read my mind.

As ya'll know, I waited a LONG LONG time to venture back into dating, and I took my time, thought it through, worked on some personal stuff so that I wouldn't be working out my issues with every poor Joe and Harry who encountered me and my matched 32-piece set of heavy luggage. So I got my emotional baggage down to a manageable carry-on, handbag and drama wallet. Then I got my hair did and my nails done and ventured forth into the fray.

What I discovered was ... kind of sad, really.

In the space of time between now and when I was last actively dating (what? ten years ago? give or take a little?), men have lost the ability to properly date. Not just that, they have lost the ability to even ask a woman on a proper date.

I've only been doing this horrible dating thing since March, and I have discovered that the old, perfectly lovely phrase "Would you like to have dinner with me?" has been replaced by the following:


A: "Hey, you want to hook up sometime?"
Translation: I'm too lazy to make plans with you.


B: "Hey, wannna kick it sometime?"
Translation: See Option A, plus I have bad grammar.


C: "So, want to come over and watch a movie?"
Translation: I'm too lazy to make plans, and I am also cheap. But I'm hoping that proximity will get me laid.


D: "I could come over to your place and we could watch a movie."
Translation: My place is a mess/I live at home/I'm hiding a significant other, but I want to get laid.


E: "Call me if you want to hang out sometime."
Translation: (I have no idea. See how bad I am at this dating thing?)


One might think this sort of behavior was limited to men ages 25 and under. One would be wrong. How a man can reach the age of FORTY YEARS OLD and not know how to take a woman on a proper date is beyond me. And ya'll. This isn't brain surgery. It's not like we're asking to be catered to and financially supported and worshiped in gilt-shrine-fashion with expensive gifts in tiny, blue boxes. Just a phone call and a proper date. Call and say, "Hi. Would you like to go see a movie/go have coffee/go to dinner/attend a free concert in Woodland Hills/go on a picnic at the beach/go to a party with me next Saturday?"

That's all. SO EASY. (And, of course follow through on said date.) (Notice the freebie option, too. I'll take good manners over a hefty wallet any day of the week and twice on Sundays.)

I told this very thing to a guy I met recently, and he informed me he just didn't like having to "jump through some woman's hoops for a date."

Well, sir, I don't really want to shave my legs or underarms or pluck my eyebrows or get a haircut or wear my contact lenses or listen to that story about the time you won your fantasy football league, either. But because I do not want to be a rude, hairy woodland creature with bad eyesight I JUMP THROUGH THE AFOREMENTIONED HOOPS.

(Jump through hoops indeed. I quote Samantha when I say, "They don't call it a JOB for nothing.")

At this point, those of ya'll already penning your poison email should back slowly away from the keyboard. Simple fact is, I don't hate men. I wouldn't care about this apparent man crisis if I hated men! I LOVE men. I love the way they smell and walk and talk and fix stuff and you know what stuff I mean, I just love everything about them.

But I'm not real fond of BOYS. Especially BOYS that should already be grown and be MEN. Just seems like a lot of guys don't want to man up, don't want to participate in normal adult dating behavior.

Is this just a Los Angeles thing? Or am I an antique? A relic from another time, when dating meant a phone call on Wednesday asking you to a date on Saturday? Am I too small-town? Old-fashioned? Or have men really stopped being men and now they have descended into some x-box/playstation/DVD collecting no-man's-land (literally) where they desire only to live forever in an extended adolescence?

Help me. Help me understand this. I am so confused.

Send wine. And real men. c/o General Delivery, Los Angeles CA. Come to think of it, you can send your hate mail there, too. Whoops.

Posted by laurie at 9:29 AM

July 12, 2006

Still 100% photograph free!

Hello. It is Wednesday. I do try to write a little something every day during the week, but summer is always my busiest time at work and blah blah blah. I did, however, attend a barbecue luncheon benefit yesterday with several coworkers and MANY HOT POLICEMEN (it was a law enforcement charity event). Alas, I did not take any pictures because hi! The law does not like to pose!

(I also maybe have not found my camera cord, which is in a mysterious hiding place apparently.)

The luncheon yesterday took place somewhere south of the 10 (read: far from the Valley) but I carpooled with some folks so as not to get lost in the scary city. It was hot outside, and I was dressed in my work clothes and so on, so naturally I started to complain about this to my coworkers when I was immediately struck speechless (this is RARE, folks, RARE) because all the sudden we were standing on a parking lot with tents and chairs and burgers and MANY MEN IN UNIFORMS WEARING GUNS HOT HOT SO HOT CAN'T SPEAK.

What is it about a man in uniform? So... commanding. So serious. So decided! (As if "decided" were a quality you want in a man but WHATEVER. Go with me. Decided!)

It is a beautiful thing.

With Southern Ingenuity ("Oh ya'll, I think I need to sit over theah in the shade, you see I might burn, since this sun is so powerful hot today!") (why people put up with me is beyond comprehension) but anyway, I managed to get myself seated at a table directly across from a very attractive arm of the law if you know what I mean and I think you do. We ended up chitchatting (how DID that happen!) and he was so cute, and so decided, and honestly I was beginning to think maybe the Summer Of My Dating Discontent was coming to an end, when we had the following conversation:

Me: So, this is a ... detention center?

John Q. Law: Yes, well, it's more of a booking facility. The main central jail is closer to where you work in downtown.

Me: Oh! I saw that on Lockup on MSNBC! That John Siegenthaler is very serious.

John Q. Law: Oh yeah. I think I saw that one.

Me: I've only seen the L.A. County episode and the episode about the place that houses Charles Manson.

John Q. Law: Who is Charles Manson?

Me:

Me:

Me: Um. He was a guy, he uh, is kind of famous? Controlled a cult of young people with his mind and there was a famous murder...?

John Q. Law: When was this? (furrows (cute) forehead)

Me: Oh, early seventies, I think.

John Q. Law: Oh! Huh. Well, that was before I was born then. I kinda rememember the Menendez dudes, I was like maybe five then. Or seven or something.

Me:

Me:

Me:

Me: I'm going to get a Diet Coke now.

I turned to my co-woker, who had overheard this exchange. "Hand me my cane! Gramma needs a Diet Coke!" John Q. Law, to his decidedly adorable credit, did not get the grandma joke. I love the youth of our city. They are so YOUTHFUL. What with their YOUNGNESS and all.

I wonder if you can get locked up BY the Law for attempting to rob the cradle of the Law in the presence of the Law?

Posted by laurie at 10:07 AM

July 10, 2006

It's probably a latent Southern Girl thing.

I spent an entire hour on my lunch break doing a contortion act where I tried to cast-on and then photograph it, and it wasn't going very well but I figured, hey, I can fake it in photoshop with some good retouching and arrows and helpful text boxes covering up the oopsie parts because after all I am a trained professional! But then I discovered I left my camera cord at home anyway so I just wasted a perfectly good lunch hour making my yarn all twisty and fried.

Much like my hair.

It appears I may have inadvertantly skipped a crucial grooming step this morning and I can literally feel my hair frizzing up without any sort of taming gel or mousselike products, I know without a doubt I am going to be Aunt Geraldine with the Redneck 'fro before the day ends. [A Redneck 'fro is when you have (possibly not all natural) blonde, straight hair that starts to look all flyaway and floozy and ... unkempt. Also known as Floozy 'fro. Not to be confused with I-Live-In-The-Holler Hair or SheMullet Perm, all of which I have had in my day oh yes I did.]

But anyway! This is not about my hair, or even casting-on, woefully, so since I have nothing (nothing) at all going on in my life to share with you (the entire month of June can only be properly termed "The Universe Tells Me That Dating Is A Drag," or perhaps, "Men Are Real Turds Sometimes," but whatever, maybe that's the subtitle to the month) and so I have nothing at all exciting to tell you ... except that something odd happened on the day I turned 35. Apparently something in my brain circuitry got crossed, or synapsed, because I woke up that day and ate breakfast like normal, and cleaned the catbox, and contemplated all the many things I could do in this beautiful city like visit museums or Ikea, and you know what I did? I bought myself some fingernails.

Yes. I did.

Now, I am a notoriously low-maintenance sort of girl when it comes to general upkeep, with serviceable unpolished, short fingernails and a no-nonsense daily lipstick-and-mascara routine. While I do own a large amount of makeup and glitter and so on, I only wear the basics plus moisturizer daily. I use hair gel to prevent the floozy 'fro -- well, not today obviously -- and while I am girly and so on in the shoe department, flip-flops are still my favorite. See? low-maintenance.

But I turned thirty five and I looked at my hands and became strangely aware of my fingernails, as if they were a statement, and their statement was ... "I am ugly."

Truthfully, I have never been able to grow a fingernail. Mine are thin and bendy and they tear easily and no amount of Nailtique and expensive polishes and treatments and vitamins will ever change it. It's genetic. So I have had short, ugly nails my whole life.

BUT NOT ANYMORE. Did you know that with science and also magic you can create gorgeous fingernails where nary a nail has grown ever before? I discovered this when I showed up to the nail salon for a simple mani-pedi, with my clear, boring nail polish.

Me: Hi, I'm boring.

Nail Salon Person: I give you french manicure!

Me: I think you need fingernails for that?

Nail Salon Person: I give you fingernails!

Me: (logical brain) Nah. Too much work. Too expensive.
Me: (crazy 35-year-old brain) SIGN ME UP!


And it is magic! They use some combination of powder and gel and voodoo, and in only half an hour, you have these durable, pretty girly nails with a perfect french manicure and I do not even care that they are fake and I will probably have to get rid of HBO or something to afford the upkeep, but I am thirty-five, and I NEED TO HAVE PRETTY HANDS.

I look at them during the day. Like when I'm driving. I'm sure people think I'm totally narcissistic, admiring my hands as I am, but really what I'm thinking is, "Science! And beauty! I am so glad I have lived this long so I can enjoy the marriage of SCIENCE and BEAUTY! I have fingernails! And they are pretty! And made of SCIENCE!"

I am maybe a little bit of a nerd.

But even though I am nerdy, and currently my split ends are swirling 'round my nerdy noggin in an enchanting halo of REDNECKEDNESS, it doesn't matter. Even when I have spilled coffee on myself in traffic and my hair is tantalizingly trailerific, and I have no idea why I rush through projects for the brochures when the rates are changing anyway and this stupid fax machine somewhere in Asia keeps drunk dialing my desk phone and they're doing construction on 6th street so I can hear a jackhammer ALL DAY, people! It doesn't matter.

I have beautiful, polished fingernails. Much like my Aunt Geraldine, I might add.

Posted by laurie at 12:54 PM

July 7, 2006

Por amarte así

In a city of eleventy million people it's easy to be anonymous. It is, in fact, one of the main draws of The Big City: you can leave behind the small town you grew up in ("population 200, including cows and chickens...") and live here with neighbors you never see or talk to, glide through the grocery store without having to chitchat with the person you sat next to in 4th grade and later dated his brother who went on to play ball at Auburn and then got a knee injury, and oh have you heard from the so-and-so boy lately?

You can be anonymous, can wear your oversized sunglasses and pretend to be a washed-up child star or a Very Important Businessman but I came here and somehow small-townified my life (you can take the girl out of the south, but not the south out of the girl... it's stuck to her permanently through all the fried foods of her youth) and I moved to a neighborhood where my neighbors are kissing cousins, literally, and I know the names and backstories of almost everyone I see regularly which of course includes the entire staff of both 7-11s in my sphere of influence.

(At the BBQ I hosted a few weeks ago, Karman was going to make a 7-11 run and was taking orders. "Amber," I said, "you want anything from the 7-11?" She laughed, "What would a party at your house be without a late-night trip to 7-11?")

This morning, I got in my Jeep and stopped at my "morning" 7-11 (Oh, ya'll, the more I change the more I stay the same, and so I still do a fair amount of my shopping at the corner convenience store, I cannot help myself.) Rajit, the friendly owner, greeted me with more enthusiasm than usual. The man was practically jumping up and down.

"OH! Misslaurie, I do not have your phone number but to call because we have very exciting news, flavor flavor!"

Obviously, I had not had my coffee yet, so who knows what I was hearing or he was saying, and I looked closely at the coffee pots to determine which new flavor flavor I was supposed to sample.

"Cinnamon...?" I asked, hoping I was right.

"Yes, very good, cinnamon is fresh but we have flavor flavor in here! Just last night! I show you!"

And he produced a strip of receipt paper, signed by one Flava Flav, proof positive of a star sighting in my very own 7-11, very exciting. And I left with my coffee and got in my Jeep and headed East into downtown (or "South" because sometimes the 101 signs say East, and sometimes they say "South" but you're all the same stuck in morning traffic and heading "over the hill.") The hills in question were barely visible in the morning amber air, bright and soft yet no matter how poetic you phrase it, still decidedly brownish. "It's not smog," just ask any Angeleno. They (we) are very defensive when asked. "It's not smog, it's haze."

In front of me is a guy in a battered Toyota truck with a bumper sticker that says, "Soy Chapin y que?" To my left is a Channel 7 news van, off to some exciting story or another and advertising the Doppler radar that never, ever shows smog, to my right a guy with an expensive haircut in a gorgeous black mercedes convertible (top down, but all the windows rolled up) talking on a cell phone, gesturing between takes of Starbucks.

And so it occurred to me that this is a very optimistic city, maybe the most optimistic city on earth. You can come here and make all your dreams come true. You can write a screenplay or work at 7-11 until you finally own three franchises of your own and send your daughter (age 18, very pretty with glossy black hair from the pictures he showed me) to USC to study engineering, or you can work at a high-powered law firm with glass hallways, or mow lawns for more money in one month than you might make in six months back home, or drive a Jeep into downtown with a sappy Spanish love song (Christian Castro) playing loudly enough for everyone to hear, but nobody pays you any attention because you could be anyone, anyone at all, and even Flava Flav shops where you shop.

And it's not smog, you know. It really is haze. It'll burn off later this afternoon.

Posted by laurie at 9:08 AM

July 6, 2006

Brat.

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Posted by laurie at 10:38 AM

July 5, 2006

July 2006 Hor-O-Scopes

Hi! Happy July! Or not, you know, depending on where Uranus is. (HAH HAH! Sorry, I am nine years old, apparently.)

Summer is always my busiest time at work, so I blame the slackage on this here website squarely on my need to bring home a paycheck. It truly does interfere with my star-gazing and faux-austrologizing and drinking and carrying on. However, if someone would PLEASE invent a car that runs on cat poop, I know I could be the richest woman in America with the finest renewable energy source ever. Or invent something that runs on cat hair. Cause my Uranus is covered in it.

Happy horoscopes!

- - - - - - -


AQUARIUS (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18)
I had something else here, but realized I had recently used a Tom Jones metaphor in another horoscope not very long ago and that's so sad, ya'll, I'm THAT IN LOVE with Tom Jones. Never fear! Your chart is still as Aquarius as ever, with the same general concept for all of July (oh, but I love saying "pelvic thrust" ... it's so unfair that I can't talk about Tom Jones in staff meetings!) Anyway. Your July is hot, an "I live in the valley" sort of hot, because you have self-confidence sitting squarely in the House of Hoochie this month. (So you see why I immediately thought of "sex-bomb" ... right?) Let your fans adore you, but don't be surprised if you're somewhat worn out by all the attention near month's end. It's fine... everyone has to return to the green green grass of home and lay their head down... SORRY. I'll stop now. Tom Jones. mmmmm.


PISCES (Feb. 19 - March 20)
A few years ago, McNeil Consumer Healthcare released a "GUT list" -- a roster of the top ten cities where folks were suffering from tummy problems. Los Angeles took the number one spot, which proved my completely fact-less theory that Hollywood causes nausea when taken too seriously. For example, movies that twist our sweet tooth with romance and send us into a sugar coma with sappy completely unrealistic plots are not to be ingested when it's hot and sunny summer (a notoriously bad time to make a lasting love connection, anyway). Fantasies are lovely, but they're simply empty calories and as long as you're trying to make the movie in your head be real, you'll never truly inhabit your life. You're not meant to be a plot point in someone else's story. (I have to remind myself of that same thing, too, all the time. We're all kindred and stuff that way. Must be a water sign thing.)



ARIES (March 21- April 19)
The election drama our country went through in 2000 has changed the world. Now, everyone gets a recount! Mexico, our friendly neighbor to the south, is recounting the votes of their presidential election as we speak. This has shown the world two things: One, never stop counting until you're declared the winner. And two, bring along enough provisions to sustain you through weeks of indecision. This little lesson in mathematics and snack preparedness will serve all Aries children well in the long summer months. If your options appear to be dwindling, do some creative counting (or find some misplaced absentee options to see you through.) When you can't seem to make any decision at all, use stalling tactics to buy yourself some time. Snack wisely. Be willing to wait it out. Some might argue that there's a third lesson to be learned by all this political snafu-ing, but I'm still awaiting their prepared arguments before the supreme astrological court.



TAURUS (April 20 - May 20)
Earlier this month an astronomer in Australia announced that Asteroid 2004 XP14 may or may not hit earth in another century. Apparently, even monstrous chunks of ice and rock can float around for eons without bumping into anything, completely unnoticed, until the fateful day when somebody with time and patience looks into exactly the right spot. (If you didn't get the message in that moralistic, heavy-handed last sentence then you are denser than a chunk of space matter.) This is not the time to avoid exploration, Taurus. Take your eyes off the floor and look up, scrutinize, peer closely at your circle of orbit. You will encounter and collide with a substantial force in your personal life, a positive encounter for you both, but you have to be looking to see it.




GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)
As seen on TV! Get rich quick! Not available in stores! Hurry, supplies are limited! Stop unsightly razor burn, solve all your problems and never sweat again -- all in four easy payments! Oh, we should be so lucky. Why can't all our panaceas come in four easy payments? Personally, I'd put a down-payment on a case of Lonely Buster or the Patented Creep Clapper (when someone annoys you just clap on, clap off!) But alas, there is no infomercial to address the needs of a Gemini this month. Nothing you can purchase will make your mailaise less real. That slightly out-of-touch feeling may be accompanied by pangs of loneliness, uncontrolled channel surfing and visible panty lines. Be advised --don't waste your money on impulse buys that will leave you feeling emptier. Instead, take pictures this month, recording forever all the things you already have that make you happy (like your friends, and your adventures and projects and travel, because even though we know you can't buy happiness, no one says you can't encounter it along the way, right?) Also! Just FYI... there is no free gift with this horrorscope. But I do accept everything in four easy payments.




CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
Have you ever tried to figure out someone's password so you could snoop in their email for proof of a romantic tryst or other indescretion? No. Of course you haven't. Because that would be wrong, wouldn't it? HAH HAH. I know you so well because I am Cancer Personified, remember? Your sleuthing skills are second to none, and I'm sure that while you have never actually sat at your beloved's computer and snooped his files (or backpack, glove compartment, desk drawer, etc.) you'd still like some small comfort that you are not the crazy one, we all have these impulses. It's so hard for us little Cancers, we need to know the truth, we want to know, but we're never sure people are telling us the absolute, honest truthy truth, and pragmatic as we are we just need some ... proof. Keep your impulses in check during July and choose to trust, choose to stay out of the factfinding business. You'll just find items you don't want to see, and then have to explain how you found them. Better to keep the object of your interest busy with happy-trusting you than with wannabe-stalker you.




LEO (July 23 - August 22)
The planets have aligned for you in such a way that July will be an excellent personal shopping month, should you choose to exercise that credit card. Your talent for bargain-hunting has been heightened by a lovely full moon mid-month, ripe for half-off sales and hidden handbag gems. Or power tools, because for some reason there may be power tools in your month. I do not know! Either way, you will have the strength to fend off buyer's remorse, the fortuitous happy moment of avoiding a poor impulse buy, and the good luck to shop without fear because somehow you have money in your moon. Take advantage of it, but for God's sake -- avoid pleather! Your planets do not look good seated on pleather, especially Uranus (sorry! could not resist!)




VIRGO (August 23 - Sept. 22)
"Yeast" is just one of those words I hate to hear. It's right up there with "bloated" "crampy" "purge" and "raw umber." We all have words we avoid ... of course, your words seem to be "no" "too busy" "all booked up" and "some other time, thanks!" Do you really want to spend another summer frazzled, fried and all-around crampy? Of course not. Grow a backbone and start using that word NO. It isn't a dirty word, it is in fact the nicest music to your ears ... it will take some practice, however. Try reciting these phrases until you're numb with joy, "No I'm completely busy but some other time." "No, but thanks for asking!" and my personal favorite -- "No, I have plans but be sure to let me know how it turned out for you!"


LIBRA (Sept. 23 - Oct. 23)
I need to talk to you about the male mid-life crisis. It starts around age 37 and lasts well into age 43 or 44, and is characterized by the following: constant pondering of bellybutton, dismal moments spent wondering if the past 20 years of his life have been a total waste, wondering if hot young yoga chicks will date him, inability to be an adult, and just the general ridiculousness of his death-grip on extended adolescence. Add x-box or addiction to online porn and shake well. Voila! Male mid-life crisis! So, why am I telling this to Libra in July? Because you are currently wondering if the past number of years was a waste, and you're questioning yourself when you know deep down inside that the only way to be the full-grown best you possible is by facing up to the past, not staring at it in a doubting funk. Those things happened to make you into the well-rounded grown up you are today (even when you doubt yourself.) And for the record, the answer is no: hot yoga chicks don't like 40 year old men who play x-box and can't grow up. I'm just saying is all.



SCORPIO (Oct. 24 - Nov. 21)
It's Independence Day, and Happy July! Break out the party mix of nuts. Usually our hero Scorpio is forced to work with the peanuts and cashews and occasional chesnut during the summer months of socializing and carrying on. Buck up, little camper. Family, neighbors, friends and co-workers get lazy and slack off this time of year and you'll have room to breathe for the next few weeks, but try not to slack off completely. Late Scorpio summer is deceptively busy with some project on your list, starting around the new moon on the 25th, but until then you should make appointments with yourself for some quiet time alone in a room with your sloth of choice. Nuts optional.




SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21)
Like bad chick lit (or the even worse and so much more appealing gossip magazines), your month is a mix of rock meets hard place meets in sordid, chatty episodes. Your family or close circle of friends is about to have a major alteration in the batting lineup. I see some kind of off-center power play happening around you, and I highly recommend that you remain "unavailable for comment." This is one of those sticky situations you won't be able to pry yourself out of once you get involved, so if you want to save yourself trauma and years of therapy bills, stay out of it. Not sure how to politely decline being sucked into World War Three? A simple "I like you both and this isn't something I can solve, so I need to stay out of it ..." will suffice. Curb the urge to speak your mind on this one (a surprise case of laryngitis wouldn't hurt.)




CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19)
Have you ever seen the magazine horoscopes that list your "best" and "worst" days of the upcoming month? On the "best" days you'll be sure to find true love, win the lottery and get a great haircut. On "worst" days, you should stay in bed while your true love sleeps with your best friend, your boss threatens to fire you and you get a zit the size of Mt. Everest. I think these color-by-number predictions are ridiculous. Usually. But I have to warn you to be prepared for unsightly happiness for one shimmering July day near the new moon. Due to time zone changes and the international date line dilemma, I am unable to predict the exact date. Things are going to line up in Capricornland and you'll get one of those mysterious days when everything just clicks. However, two days later you will get a zit. Small price to pay for perfection. Agreed?


Posted by laurie at 12:01 PM

July 1, 2006

Praise thy air conditioner

It was one hundred and eight degrees today. Spent the entire day shuttered indoors blasting the icy, artic artificial air from what must be humankind's greatest invention while splayed on the sofa, giving thanks to the world's second greatest invention, el Tivo, with whom I shared six back-to-back episodes of Gilmore Girls. Then realized I had become a shut-in who views "catching up on TV" as an actual to-do list item.

Have given up on vaccuuming the cat hair off the couch (too hot to vaccuum), have resorted to lint-rolling the cats directly. They are not amused.

Posted by laurie at 8:44 PM