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September 29, 2006

Could I speak to your supervisor please?

Hi, if ya'll run into my ex-husband this weekend or also anyone from the Automobile Club of Southern California, would ya'll give them a friendly hi-to and also a swift kick to the soft and pink regions?

Hey. How's ya'lls Friday going?

So, I'm driving down to see my grandma here in the next few days and I decided against taking the train since I would have to get someone to pick me up and shuttle me around so on and so forth and then I waited too long to rent a car and ya'll know. It has been a really long week and I'm tired and need a wine IV. Anyway, I thought, "Hey! No problem! I have Triple-A, and I'll buy an upgraded membership so I have lots of towing mileage, and I am all set. Me and The Jeep Of Despair will travel unhindered, and if hindered, we shall have coverage. Life is good and also, soon to be grape-infused."

Fucking Triple-A.

(Oh, also! I forgot to mention I'm a teetiny bit angry so there will be bad words, because I am Tacky and also Trashy and also Really Bleeping Pissed Off. But I will try to keep it to a minimum.)

Today I called Mean Horrible Triple-A and told them I wanted to upgrade (read: I will pay you more money for a service I may never need) to the expanded towing membership, or whatsit.

The person on the end of the line told me that was impossible.

Me: Impossible? Like Britney being cute again impossible? Or like men having babies impossible?

Person: (silence)

Me: I mean to say, HOW IS THIS IMPOSSIBLE? I have money and would like to upgrade. I have a great driving record. I'm nice. And did I mention I want to pay for this service which you do offer, you offer it right?

Person: You must be a member for one full year before you can upgrade.

Me: Oh! See, OK, that's no problem.

Person: You've only been a member since July.

Me: Yes, but that's because I was a member for ten years, before all this, I mean, my divorce, you know? I even have my old card right here, with my old membership number and my name on it and it says right on the card "Years As Member: 10" but my ex-husband sort of dropped me from the policy without telling me. So I didn't know, you see? HE DIDN'T BOTHER TO TELL ME. And so I had to buy a new membership but I have been with ya'll a long time. You could check. I love Triple A.

Person: Yeah, uh, well I'm sorry but that's the rule.

Me: But it doesn't apply here. It's an actual fact. Because I HAVE been a member for ten years and now three months. I just have a new number. I mean it's not my fault my ex-husband is a big... uh... not nice person. But he shouldn't get credit for those ten years while I get nothing. I mean, HI! The judge already did that! Can't you help me here? I have my old membership card right here...

Person: Yes, I'm very sorry but I can't help you.

Me: Ya'll are a business, you ought to be able to see ...

Person: Yes, I'm very sorry but I can't help you.


And then I launched into a good fifteen minutes of how could she, as a woman, not see the intrinsic WRONGNESS in this scenario and why does he get all the credit for our JOINT membership when he is clearly the bigger bleephead? And also, I paid for that membership just as much as he did, from a JOINT account and also with ten years of doing laundry and dishes and GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT ELSE and hello? Are you still there?

Seriously, I think at some point she just set the phone down and walked out for a smoke break. I was full of righteous indignation. My words may have said "Please, nice person, won't you help me? I would love you so much if you could just help me..." but my message was all, "That's right! Ya'll betta recognize! This woman will NOT be denied!"

Yeah. That really worked. The "Can I speak to your supervisor?" and repeated calls back finally netted me someone who was at least willing to ask a supervisor on my behalf, and lucky me will find out in eight to ten days if I can PAY MORE MONEY TO THESE IGNORANT NO-GOOD UNDESERVING PROBABLY UGLY TRIPLE-A PEOPLE who seem to really have a LOVE of peckerhead ex-husbands and a real hatred of nice ladies named Me.

Anyway!

I'm fine now, because you see I simmered and stewed and carried on about the wrongness until I developed a PLAN. Yes, now if my Jeep breaks down, I have a SOLID PLAN. I think it is a very Good and also, Full Of Southern Ingenuity plan.

Upon breakage, I will call this roadside assistance club and have my Jeep towed to someplace at the VERY outer edges of my tow limit, toward my final destination. I am bringing both a Thomas Guide and a full-scale map of the area to be sure. Upon arrival at tow destination #1, I will get a coke and chitchat with the staff and be Very Southern and Nice, and then I will call AAA back in 30 minutes and request a new tow, to the wee outer edges again. Wash rinse and repeat for my third and final membership tow which will place me within easy access of my beloved Valley. At which point they will effectively have paid WAY more for all the towing than if they had merely allowed me to purchase a simple upgrade, for which I am qualified seeing as I have been a member FOR TEN YEARS.

Ya'll betta recognize! I have a plan!

You can't hold a good (read: ornery) Southern woman down. We may seem sweet on the outside, but we are just powder puffs disguising mack trucks. Or tow trucks, as the case may be.

Posted by laurie at 4:37 PM

September 28, 2006

If looks could kill... ya'll would so be attending my funeral and then eating a casserole later today.

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Hi ya'll! Work is busy! Send wine.
xo,
crazy cat lady

Posted by laurie at 10:30 AM

September 26, 2006

All the news that's fit to be online

TSA Memo Bans Reptiles On Aircraft Without Ziploc Baggie
The TSA has "relaxed" the rules about the explosive Vanilla Bean Bath & Body Works hand lotion you can bring on an airplane ... but it has to be in a ziploc baggie. If your toiletries are not in a baggie, you have to throw them away. Apparently the baggie is what stands between us and terror.

I feel safer, and also happier. Because if I travel I can now take on board with me The Chapstick That Did Not Combust as well as my Contact Solution Without Dynamite! I love air travel. It's so logical, and also fun.

Remember when getting to the airport and sitting at the gate with your friend/family/boyfriend was still part of the happy travel experience? You'd watch people coming and going, wonder where they were from, double-check your cute carry on bag, adjust you outfit. It was all part of the trip. Now we have to watch out for people lighting their deodorant on fire. We live in a crazy world, ya'll.


Cops Say Peeping Tomette Caught In Knitting Spot
Thanks for all the pictures! Tonight I'm going to figure out how to display them all, I love it. Nothing beats the innernets for pure voyeurism.


Congress Says Panties Shortage Linked To Laundry Initiative
Today I will work, and do my job to the best of my ability, and luckily it's warm because I am undies al fresco. It's not as gross as it sounds since I'm wearing spanx under my trousers. I haven't done laundry in so long that I officially ran out of underwear. Even the butt-floss and desperation panties are gone. That means it is undeniably time to launder. Or shop. Which will win? Film footage at eleven!


Man Lets Little Brain Override Big One
My new motto is "Better Luck in 2007!" See ya next year, dating! LYLAS! Maybe after we finish my grandma's blanket we can start knitting nice men to date? What do ya'll think? A good worsted-weight cotton? Superwash merino? Hemp for the college girls? Maybe a nice alpaca in multicolors? Surely there's a knitalong we can join.

And when we're done, we'll just put him in a Ziploc for carry-on purposes. You know they're making them ziplocs in pretty big sizes now. I'm just saying is all.

Posted by laurie at 9:41 AM

September 25, 2006

The knitting spot

Now, I realize that maybe one of the greatest technological inventions of all time, the internets, is being used for only the highest of highbrow of pursuits (i.e. porn) (and shoe shopping, love you zappos.com!!) but it can also be a little window into someone else's life.

A little while ago Neil asked his readers to send in pictures of their beds. For a voyeur like me, this was brilliant! I love seeing folks' style in decorating and in the furniture they choose or even just the different bed coverings, it's funny how much personality you can see in such a thing.

So, I was wondering if ya'll would want to send me (Nosy McButtinsky) a digital picture of your knitting spot? The place you most often knit, or maybe most love to knit, with maybe a little description or general geographic location and I will post mine, too. OH. In your email, send me a link to your homepage if you have one!

[Edited to add; This is now over ... sorry you missed it!]

p.s. If you could put the words "knitting spot" in the title of your email, then they can go in a special no-spaminator folder. So I will not lose you to the vast labyrinthine abyss that is my email.
Thanks,
From the lame-ass who still has not set up a gmail account. whoops.

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Posted by laurie at 8:42 AM

September 22, 2006

Hello, forehead Friday!

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Today we have Santa Anas in Los Angeles. Santa Ana winds are hot and dry and they blow all around the city and make us feel like we have real weather now and then. The excitement is disproportional to its real significance, but hey, we're the same people who forget how to drive when it rains. I think we get so excited by little atmospheric things like wind because we aren't privy to the tornadoes and hurricanes and violent thunderstorms that batter the rest of the country. We just sit here in a pile of our own pollution and expect every single day to be sunny and mid 70s. So when we get some strong winds we're just wacky, they even close freeways in the canyons. Los Angeles has wind! Film footage at eleven!

And aside from the whole little problem of "Oh yeah the whole city might burn to the ground" and "my eyes are red from the junk in the air" I do love the Santa Anas. Yesterday when I walked outside midday, the palm trees were rustling and it made me feel restless and happy all at the same time. Of course, that could have been because it was Tragic Laundry Thursday and I wasn't wearing pantyhose. Gives new meaning to "flapping in the breeze."

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No reason for this picture, just wanted to say hi ya'll!


P.S. Um. Ok. The Blogads folks have been real good to me and keep sending advertisers my way and this is good and I love them! Love you Blogads peeps! But there is a new ad that is supposed to be up for a month and it is kind of about STDs. Ya'll, my webpage now has an STD. I am so sorry. But it's worth like, eighty dollars! I am such a ho ... and apparently a cheap one at that. But it's eighty dollars of pure love!

Pure love that, you know, kind of should wear a condom. I'm just suggesting is all.

Posted by laurie at 8:26 AM

September 21, 2006

Hot child, summer in the city.

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That's not clouds you see... it's smoke from the fires. I took this picture last night on the drive home. There's always something eerie and surreal about Los Angeles during fire season, and driving home last night reminded me of last year's fires and all the things I never told you back then.

I wrote this last year right after the big fires near Topanga and I never posted it because it seemed maudlin and weepy and boring:

(Notice that although it is maudlin and weepy and boring, I am now posting it because either A) I am so tired I have lost my sense of quality control or B) I am just generally maudlin and weepy and boring and so be it.)

The fire made me realize that I am now completely alone. Alone to get my cats out and safe, alone to sit and watch TV, alone while wondering where the fire is going, alone when it comes right down to it. I called my friends, and my family, of course, and they were understanding and upbeat. Which is great. They're upbeat! Except... there's ash covering my car. And I am alone all night, wondering if the fire is creeping closer. Will it jump the 101 and hit the Valley floor? Will me and the cats make it out in time?

This is what it means to be alone.

I like my solitary life, generally speaking, but now I can see why I stayed married so long. Even after the happiness faded. People need to feel like they have one other person in their life who is with them, sharing the ups and downs. You want the comfort of feeling like one other human is with you when it comes down to a crisis, just to have someone to sit here with me and watch the news updates, someone to calm me when I worry.

Of course I can haul the cats into the Jeep myself, and of course no man or friend could save my house if the fire were roaring down Ventura Boulevard. But it's comforting to know you aren't the only one. It's a great feeling to turn to your friend, lover, husband, wife, and say, "Don't forget to grab the... cat food/important papers/spare keys/whatever." Just to share an experience together. To have someone to count on.

This is good to remember, since lately I have really hunkered down with the aloneness, and started to believe I never want to be with anyone ever again.

I wrote that on September 29, 2005.

What's so funny is that SO MUCH HAS CHANGED! And so much is the same, too, you should always keep a diary to remind you of the past and compare it with your present.

This time last year the very idea of going on a date seemed scary and impossible, I was too far inside lonely and hurt and divorce to even imagine a man in my life. But I remember that particular night, sitting anxiously on the patio and watching the ash fall on my lawn. I realized then that I don't want to be alone forever, because I want to share my life with someone, have someone to make jokes with ("Bring marshmallows! The valley is HOT!") someone to feel comfortable with even in chaos. Especially in chaos. It was the first moment since he'd walked out that I could see clearly. What I saw that night is that I wanted a future with someone in it, somehow.

I know that folks say it's better to be alone than be with someone who doesn't love you. I know it's true, because after all, I was there. I slept in a bed with a man who didn't love me, never held my hand or told me I was pretty. And now I live alone and have a fully functioning and mostly pretty great life. I have been both sides of that coin.

And I do still get lonely. It's human nature. Often when I speak of it, people will remind me how much better it is to be alone than alone with someone, as if it's supposed to be the period on the end of a sentence. I used to bristle when folks would tell me that. I felt judged, as if there were something broken inside me, as if I were too needy or emotional or not strong enough.

Later I came to see it's just what people say. They often say it from the vantage point of being happily married. They often say it from a place of pain, because they are alone with their husband or wife or companion. So I began to wonder, why don't people leave if they're unhappy?

I think it's because aside from all the scary things -- finances, kids, property division -- most people don't truly want to be ALONE. If you really wanted this "hey it's so much better being alone!" life, you'd have it. Look at me: I stayed, even when it got bad. I would have stuck it out maybe indefinitely, hoping for the best. I was terrified of living alone, supporting myself financially, emotionally, all of it. I was afraid of the very life I have right now. I was afraid to live like me, arriving home each night to an empty house with a herd of felines and three cold beers.

It's funny how much you change in a year.

My life is alone, and it's scary sometimes, and lonely sometimes, and sometimes it's also the best life I could have ever pictured. I'm independent. I got to know what I was capable of. I didn't break. I screwed up a few times, and I cried and blubbered on the phone and maybe drunkdialed with abandon, but I learned to take care of myself, learned to like what I have, learned to be still. I finally got to know myself as an adult, and now I know what I have inside me so that when I do meet a good guy I'll be able to appreciate him fully, give what I couldn't give before because I was too scared or afraid to be alone. I won't choose out of fear or desperation, but out of the sheer happiness of being with someone I enjoy knowing.

And he'll laugh at my jokes, even when the whole Valley is on fire.

Posted by laurie at 10:13 AM

September 19, 2006

(Un)still life

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It's Tuesday morning and I overslept ... well, really I underslept and then tried to get the adequate amount of sleep during the time I should have been in the shower and getting ready for work.

But because I am shallow and girly, I didn't skip the all-important morning grooming extravaganza and rather than hurry through the only interesting part of my day ("Hmmm, what can I wear that will make me feel happy/like Nora Charles/Kitty Carlisle/comfortable/cute without pushing the limits of good taste/dress code/ass-sizereality?") I took my normal amount of time -- even I admit that a twenty-five minute shower is excessive, but there you have it -- and so of course I was late leaving the house....

... which can only mean that I missed the bus (ya'll, I have literally Missed The Bus!) (hee) and I got to the train station late and there was no parking (!) and I missed my train, and I missed the following train, and at some point I thought I'd reach this Zen state where I was completely the bobbing cork and would have all this inner poise about being late to my place of employment. Instead I was channeling Linda Hamilton in the Terminator, practically mowing people down trying to get up the stairs and onto 7th street in the direction of my office. Ya'll don't mind me! I love when you stroll and meander and block the sidewalk and sometimes just stop for no reason whatsoever as you are walking! Love you! Now I walk over you!

Hello doctor. I have this slight tic ... can you fix it?

I met someone today on the train who is a psychologist. It was pre-coffee, so I was having a hard time communicating. But it did leave me with some questions. For example, is a psychologist really a doctor or is it just somebody who is paid to give advice without any real medical or scientific training? Because I took Psych 101 in college and all I learned was the term "bunny boiler" which may not be a widely-used bonafide psychological term, but if you've seen Fatal Attraction, and I believe you have, then you know of what I speak.

And do you suppose a psychologist ever gets tired of people telling them the same problem over and over and they want to shake their patients by the shoulders and tell them to get over it already?

And is there a kind of psychologist, perhaps a certain discipline of psychology or something, who can listen to me for an hour at the end of which time he will present me with a list of things to do to make my life perfect, preferably in bullet-point format? Maybe a powerpoint presentation? Yes! A powerpoint presentation!

Perhaps I am really on to something here.

Perhaps I need to caffeinate.


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Note to Guy On Sidewalk: I love that you are committed to sign-holding, but please move out of the way for pedestrians. Especially late ones who take 25-minute showers and are in fact wearing one brown sock and one black one. Whoops!

Posted by laurie at 9:48 AM

September 18, 2006

Why crazy knitters should rule the world.

Hi ya'll! I am back from THE REAL OC and my mom has flown back to Florida and I have already had three cups of coffee and it is only Very Early A.M. and before I tell you why it is specifically that knitters must overthrow the government and rule the world, I would like to show you this:

This is a video I took at a high school football game in which my cousin Dakota was definitely THE STAR and no I am not prejudiced, I can say with full authority that he is sincerely the most gifted of all football players, it's just a fact, really. And I narrate said video with my Cracker Ass Cracker touch, please note the big realization I have midway through, wherein I share a somewhat surprising fact with you about the concession situation.

We spent the day with grandma, and once she was settled in for the evening we all headed out to the game, and did you know how tall and big they are making high school boys these days? Hello, Mrs. Robinson! These are not the gawky dorks I remember shoving each other into the lockers at my own high school and sticking pencils up their noses. Nosiree bob. My mother had to remind me that while they were indeed tall and had cars and drivers licences and cuteness, they were also NOT EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD and ergo, something about jail. Whoops.

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Dakota is a SUPASTAR!!!

Going to that football game was a perfect way to cap off a day at the nursing home, and I will tell you why. You feel so alive seeing all those high school kids and their families cheering and carrying on and it was really what we needed, for just a few hours you're so taken out of your own head and you just get swept up in hearing the band and the cheerleaders and seeing the parents get all riled up. And also, possibly it is the most RIPE and fertile ground for people-watching ever created. I am just saying is all.

More pics:

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Ok, so now is the part where I tell you why we have to form a political block (blocking!! get it? hah hah!!) or bring back the Grange Party or something, because if knitters ran the world we'd all be war-free and cozy in our knit socks and happiness. Plus, the alpaca would be the national symbol of pride and a sheep would adorn the $100 bill.

Ya'll may not know that I am a bit of a weirdo when it comes to receiving gifts, I always feel somehow undeserving and yes I possibly need counseling and some sort of medical intervention. So when Kristy mentioned (on Thursday before I left for THE REAL OC!!) about making a blanket for my grandma, I was real quiet about it that day, and had no idea how to respond since I always seem to flub stuff up so poorly and really, one wonders where my folks went wrong because sometimes I have zero social skills, it is a miracle I am gainfully employed. But! I left for Orange County and while I was down there, I just real casual like mentioned to my grandma that some knitters on the innernets had kind of mentioned knitting up a blanket just for her, and oh you should have seen the look on her face! It was pure happy. She was just pleased as pie to be thought of and fussed over.

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And even though I feel spoiled rotten and totally undeserving of such niceness, I can tell you my grandma is most deserving, and most appreciative, and I just think we could probably knit world peace if we set our minds to it! Because while I was away, the innernets were busy making a whole knitalong and blog and frankly if ya'll had been in charge of rebuilding the Gulf Coast ... well, you know where I am going with this. And there are buttons and if you want to make an 8-inch square I do thank you, and if you just want to hug a knitter, that's good enough for me too. Or hug your grandma. Or your local high school football player.

But only if they're 18, of course.

Posted by laurie at 8:41 AM

September 14, 2006

Hello, website!

It's just busy here and I'm going to visit grandma and my mom and also, there is this thing at work I have to do... something about "being productive" and "not just drinking all the free coffee." Huh!

SO although I have done about no writing at all this month, I do promise to somehow someway have a story to tell you soon and it will likely involve me getting trapped in something, or breaking some expensive and seemingly unbreakable piece of technology, or I will have yet another epiphany involving my gardener very soon. Until then, I have one thing, one teetiny little favor to ask ya'll.

PLEASE WATCH SURVIVOR WITH ME!

I need someone to discuss it with and that someone is you. What's not to love? We can watch a bunch of people get dirty and eat bugs while congratulating ourselves for the good sense God gave a mule to stay out of all camping-related activities, especially ones where you can't shave your pits for three months and cameras are trained on said hairy pits 24 hours a day. How could ya'll miss that? Now really!

It premieres tonight ... I'm just suggesting is all. Also, did I mention how pretty you look today? And smart. Not that I am trying to flatter you or anything.

Posted by laurie at 1:57 PM

September 13, 2006

A picture is worth 47.4 words!

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Are ya'll surprised I could fit my whole butt PLUS my handbag in that rental car?


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I love my Aunt Pam, she is so freaking cool.


So, I got another email today from yet another Concerned Citizen Of the Innernets that Drew may have been:

A) Kidnapped by me and forced to live in a locked room with no computer access and I refuse to release him from Encino-adjacent and will I please give him back to the crochetworld?

B) Injured in a random yet highly dangerous Red Heart incident and he is tangled and trapped in his studio will I PLEASE CALL THE HOUSTON POLICE ALREADY?

C) Overcome with excitement that the Suri Cruise photos were released and he has abandoned his blog in favor of persuading me to hatch a Suri-scientologist child of our very own.

I am here to assure ya'll that none of these are true and he is fine but hasn't had internet access and I would email each of ya'll individually except remember that time some spammer sent out eleventeen million spams but faked it as coming from my email address? Apparently all sorts of places now block my email for that reason. They believe I am a spammer. Good grief! Technology.

Also, cats!

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Posted by laurie at 10:34 AM

September 11, 2006

Good morning!

So I wasn't going to write anything today, because what do you say? And also, have I mentioned I was away from work for many, many days and now I have literally a pile of paper almost as large as my whole DESK waiting for me? Hello, work!

But. I had a very awkward patriotic-related incident in the breakroom. And ya'll it is only nine a.m., think of the possibilities this day holds.

It started out innocently enough. This morning when I came into the building the security staff was handing out little Lance-Armstrong-ish rubber bracelets, only these are blue with white stars and there's a little panel of red and white stripes on one side. The bracelets must be one-size-fits-all, "all" being a relative term for "giant huge tree-trunk wristed people" but I am not complaining, I love free patriotic bracelets! I put it on my wrist and came up to my office and placed my handbag on the floor and almost fell over from just looking at the large pile of stuff/brochures/memos/etc. on my desk, and I thought to myself, "I should begin attacking this pile of work!" Then my true more slovenly nature kicked in, because I immediately said out loud to no one in particular, "I should get coffee first! For fortification!"

And I poked my head into my co-worker's office next door to see if he wanted some coffee, too, and he was putting on an American flag pin.

"Hey, where'd you get that?" I asked.

"It was on my desk, you should have one too," he said.

"HAVE YOU SEEN MY DESK?" I asked, politely as one can while still conveying ABJECT HORROR.

So we looked all over my desk and finally discovered a flag pin beneath three United Way contribution forms and a last Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. I KILL TREES, PEOPLE. But, still, so exciting! Like a treasure hunt, and we found a flag at the end of a multi-colored paper rainbow (half of which is now on the floor, I might add.)

Finally, with all my patriotism I could GO GET SOME DAMN COFFEE.

So Co-Worker and I go to the breakroom, where we chitchat and so on and I am maybe perhaps talking and not paying attention as I am getting the little individual half-and-halfs out of the bottom fridge drawer (why do they store it there? workplace mystery!) and somehow my patriotic bracelet got caught on something and I was, like, attached to the refrigerator by my arm, and yet I just yammered on, as is my way, one arm immobilized by something inside the fridge, and Co-Worker finally said, "Are you OK?"

"I think I am attached to something." Pause. Whimper. "I am so far from the coffee!"

I couldn't see where I was tangled up exactly, so Co-Worker came to investigate and I moved closer to the door which is when my shirt, with my patriotic metal magnetic flag pin became attached to the refrigerator door and CoWorker began laughing at me and ran back to his office to get the digital camera BECAUSE OH YEAH THIS IS SO FUNNY, and luckily some nice lady from the lending department freed my arm before he could return. Also, it was COLD standing inside the fridge at 8 a.m. So I drank the last cup of coffee and left none for Co-Worker.

And that is my morning so far! And the day is still so young! I have my patriotic gear intact, and I have been freed from the refrigerator, and I have coffee.

But I do plan to avoid all major appliances for the rest of the day.

Posted by laurie at 8:48 AM

September 10, 2006

Oooh, let's talk about the weather.

It's happy-happy shiny smiley land here in the Valley, because it's morning and it's a lovely Sunday and OH MY GOD IT IS NOT HOT. Seriously. It's all people have talked about. I was at the 7-11 this morning for coffee, and then the gas station and then the grocery because I am somewhat certifiably insane and get up at 4:45 a.m. on Sunday mornings and WAIT for things to open (well, of course the 7-11 is open, but it's too weird to arrive there before 6 a.m. unless you're on a beer run for a party that is going VERY well, know what I mean?) and HOLY CRAP is this turning into one long sentence, but suffice it to say every place I visited this morning people have remarked upon how AWESOME the weather is because we are not being baked in the scorching armpit of hell.

Hi ya'll! I had a lot of coffee!

And really, the weather is so beautiful this morning. I have ancient windows on my house that you crank open with this handle and I am so technologically challenged that anything with moving parts is game for breakage, it's kind of a gift, really, I mean I am SO TALENTED in this way, and yet even the window in the office cranked open today without complaint which probably means I should go buy a lottery ticket right now. Because I am feeling LUCKY, darlin.

And I do thank ya'll for the kind words and wishes for my family! If I win the lottery I'm so taking all ya'll out for ribs and beer. And, well, probably truth be told we'll have to stop by the 7-11, too. Ya'll know.

Posted by laurie at 9:12 AM

September 9, 2006

And people wonder why you eat a whole pie.

It's one of those weird dilemmas of being AN ADULT. You live alone. Your grandma just got settled into a convalescent hospital where you spent so much time these past few days you adopted the 36 other people who have no one to visit them. You miss your family. Mr. Hakim in room four is in a wheelchair and can't speak but you know he understands you, while grandma is at physical therapy you tell him about your four cats (he raises his eyebrows) you tell him about how you never thought you'd be divorced, you explain how it is you came to be here and he's the best listener you've met, you hug him as you leave after you've said goodnight to grandma and his one arm hugs you back. He can understand you, you know it.

You try hard not to cry so your mom won't. You become the comic relief, telling stories about the dates gone wrong ("you love crazy ... until crazy LOVES YOU BACK!!!"). You travel back to L.A. on an Amtrak train that's three hours late because it hit a car. The taxi driver who drops you off at your house is telling you all his marital problems and you are so tired you can barely stay awake, you hand him a twenty and say, "Sir, I hope it works out. Please don't yell at your wife." Your best friend has a new boyfriend who she's with all the time, you are jealous of that lovely togetherness feeling and happy for her at the same time, your other best friend is on vacation in Alaska with no cell service. You are alone, but you think you'll get to spend a few hours tonight -- glorious hours -- with just a warm, kind human touch someone's arms around you, someone to breathe near you, be alive, feel like you are not alone, but the guy you were planning to see has all-the-sudden Saturday plans to go to a club with a another guy friend and you're too proud or maybe tired to say, please, just sit on the sofa with me.

So people wonder why you can eat a whole pie. It kind of seems obvious to me.

Oh God.

As if we could just love everyone who needs it. As if no one were alone at night. As if we could live forever. My old man cat has been so sick, you have to force-give him water and I think, yeah, I am a crazy cat lady. But I do this because I love the way he sleeps on my pillow and purrs in my ear, because I am not alone, not while he is alive and needs something. Oh so many people need something.

Puts things into perspective. Does not matter if you are lonely, because you can move both arms and legs! My dad talks to me on the telephone for hours tonight, we just chitchat, I'm sure he's tired but he still stays on the phone. I hate Saturday nights because you feel like you shouldn't be so alone on a Saturday. I'm just emotionally messy from all this, not used to convalescent hospitals, wanting to adopt everyone there, probably thinking wine doesn't go with key lime pie.

Surprisingly good with a nice, solid cabernet.

Posted by laurie at 7:33 PM

September 6, 2006

Hectic

Hi ya'll!

I won't be doing horoscopes this month, I am so sorry! There's just all kinds of crazy going on over here. My grandma, who is just a real hoot, ya'll would love her, anyway, she has had a stroke and my mom is flying out and then there was this whole brief period of insanity when I thought I should rent a car and bring Roy with me down to Orange County because ya'll know I have this CAT who has many fancy medications and so on, and also I have to watch him like a hawk for signs of paltryness (is it any wonder I have not had children? I would be that mom who does background checks on the schoolteachers and generally makes the other parents nervous).

But luckily, cooler heads prevailed and now Jennifer is taking care of the herd including the high-maintenance one because at some point I realized, hello, I am driving down to meet my mom at the airport with: one cat, all his medication, a cat box, food, water, cat toys, the special blankie, my laptop, various baskets, beds, etc., MY DYSON (!!!!) (because I didn't want him to shed at my grandma's house while she's away, and who knows what sort of vacuum she has, right?) and then it dawned on me that one cannot move one's entire home to Orange County just because one is a control freak and refuses to let anyone out of her sight, as if proximity alone could stave off evil. As if one can control anything, really.

One must trust that there is a limit to "being colorful" and one does not want to cross into "downright scary what with the cat thing and the crying and the cabernet and all" and just hope it all works out. Because really. It's kind of a fine line.

Please think good thoughts for us! And my grandma, who first taught me how to make a mimosa, and my whole crazy family, and my mom who was so sweet she didn't even say a word when I first proposed that I would meet her at the airport with both my cat and my Dyson.

Now that is love. Pass the wine.

Posted by laurie at 8:27 AM

September 5, 2006

Knit Fix to the rescue!

lisa-kartus-knit-fix.jpg


Now can ya'll think of anyone on this planet more well-suited to an entire book about FIXING horrific, tragic and sometimes alarmingly knuckleheaded MISTAKES than yours truly? Be honest now. Ya'll aren’t going to hurt my feelings.

Well, as it turns out Lisa Kartus has explained all sorts of knitting mistakes and how to fix them in her new book out from Interweave Press called Knit Fix. Hello, publishing world. Meet your target audience: me.

Lisa is taking her knit-fixing show on the road, and today she’s helping me with some of my more wine-induced knitting errors. Welcome Lisa!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Q& A with Lisa! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Crazy Aunt Question: One of my very first knitting projects was this green ribbed scarf in Lion Brand wool-ease. Now from far away it doesn’t look too scary:

greenribby-whole.jpg

But up close it’s a big ol’ pile of beginner knitter mistakes.

Issue #1: I may have been possibly caught up in one of the very first episodes of LOST and possibly there was cabernet involved, but for whatever reason I thought it would be A REALLY GREAT IDEA to just join the yarn right in the middle of a row:

greenribby-messy-join.jpg

Is there any way to fix this error? I hate to go back and rip out eleventeen feet of scarfage.


Lisa The Knit Maven:

But Crazy Aunt Purl, this could be a whole new design element: yarn tails pretending to be Bob’s tail decorating both sides of your scarf.

Both sides – that’s the problem with joining yarn in the middle of a row on a scarf, both sides are open to the public.

All right, say you want to be conservative and hide that join. Go find some matching sewing thread and a sewing needle. Make a few (2? 3?) TINY stitches in the knot at the join. Then pull the thread snug to flatten the knot and weave needle and thread back and forth through two or three inches of ribbing. Pull at the rib to make sure you haven’t scrunched it up. Knitting stretches, you know. Tie a little tiny knot with it in your knitting. Cut the thread close to the knot very carefully – please, please don’t accidentally cut your knitting. Because that’s a whole other mess entirely.

About the Bob tail? Do the same thing, just put those tiny stitches into the yarn tail, then use the thread to weave in the tail.

And next time, join at the side, OK? Or put lots of Bob tails everywhere in the scarf.


Crazy Asks: And furthermore on the green ribby scarf of despair, I discovered my cat Bob had ... I don’t know. Made sweet love to it or something. And now I have these occasional big stretched-out stitches:

greenribby-pulled-stitch.jpg


Lisa Answers:
Does Bob get blamed for everything? Poor baby. Well, to get him off the hook (no crochet pun intended; well, maybe...) pull the edge of your scarf longways. Now crossways. Pat Bob, tell him you understand that finding new uses for knitting is a requirement of felinehood, but if he does it again, you’ll clip his claws. Which he detests, if he’s anything like my felines. Then pull the scarf lengthwise and crosswise again. Repeat. See if those stretched-out stitches don’t crawl back into shape. If not, guess what? Take out that matching thread, thread that sewing needle and tack the suckers down with those tiny stitches that you’ve gotten really good at.


Q: Since we’re on the "blaming cats for knitting mistakes" train of thought, do you have any ideas for how to repair a beloved knitting needle that was gnawed to within an inch of it’s poor, Lantern Moon life?

chewed-up-needle.jpg

Lisa:
I’m hoping the needle was gnawed only at the blunt end. If so, get out your sandpaper, girl. Use the heavy grit paper to start on that needle, then medium, then finish with the fine grit. That should smooth out the teeth marks enough to use it again. Put some sort of finish on the end of the needle, like clear nail polish. If those teeth marks are all along the length of the needle, you’re stuck. If you sand down the marks, you’ll change the size of the needle. But it’s a moot point until the other needle shows up, no?

Crazy Aunt Cat Blamer: Thanks for all the help with my green ribby scarf, Lisa! I started that thing back over a YEAR ago and I never finished it… partially because I am missing the other needle (Bob has hidden it in his lair somewhere) and partially because I didn’t think my mistakes could be fixed. Now if I can find my needle, I’ll be well on my way!

Finally, I have one issue that crops up time and time again in my knitting. I love to knit in the round, LOVE IT! But I never seem to make a pretty or well-constructed join. I do the normal thing, just knitting into the first cast-on loop when I’m ready to join a round. But it always ends up looking kind of wonky.

For example, one of my favorite hats, a pink roll-brim hat:
mistakes-pink-hat.jpg
Yarn: Lana Grossa Colore Print in color #004, 100% virgin wool, so soft!
Pattern: Try the easy roll-brim hat pattern


And the join:
mistakes-pink-join.jpg


Lisa:
Love the hat. Love the fact that the messy join hides in the curled brim. However, that join’s a problem whenever you work in the round. One of the fun things about writing Knit Fix was that I got to knit mistakes ON PURPOSE. See page 58 for the official photo of your icky join.

Next time, after you’ve joined in the round, work one row. Before beginning the second row, switch the end stitches – first stitch on left needle becomes first on right needle and vice versa. Then knit the next row in pattern. Switching those two stitches pulls together that open join. For a nice illustration (thanks to those wonders in the art department at Interweave Press), see page 59 of Knit Fix.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Thanks, Lisa! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I do appreciate the help fixin' my knittin' and of course, full understanding that just about every knitting problem or mistake here at Chez Pass The Buck is blamed entirely on one Bob T. Cat.

If ya'll need a Knit Fix, just send your knitting problems to Lisa! Visit Lisa’s new web site, www.knitmaven.com, for her weekly Knit Fix picked from your submissions. Each week she selects one knitting problem and a picture of the unhappy result, and posts it with a solution on her web site. Send your submission to her email address: knitmaven@sbcglobal.net. Starting this month, she’ll also broadcast and discuss this weekly knit fix on the popular podcast, Cast-On: A Podcast for Knitters, hosted by Brenda Dayne.

Now where is my green sewing thread? Anyone...? Bob...?

Posted by laurie at 12:59 AM

September 1, 2006

Long weekends float my gravy boat

Long weekends are a beautiful thing. They're right up there with green-bean casserole and yarn shopping on my list of Favorite Stuff. Part of the excitement is the prospect of paid loafing-off (the fact that "loafing off" rates high on my excitement meter is a different issue all together.) But the best thing about long weekends -- even planned yearly events like Labor Day -- is their ability to throw everyone off schedule.

There is an un-real quality to a holiday Monday, like a hangover without the unpleasant throwing up and headaches. Everything seems disoriented and off-kilter, banks are closed but the malls are packed with red-tag sales. And while the mail doesn’t come and there’s no school, the grocery store is a madhouse of barbecue crazed people shoving piles of ranch dip into their shopping baskets.

Traffic is completely unpredictable, with rush hour happening at three p.m. on Friday and then freeways deserted (except for the thousands of police cruisers) for the rest of the weekend. Love you, holiday!

Hor-o-scopes coming sometime this weekend, maybe fueled by ranch dip and wine. Also!! On Tuesday the author of "Knit Fix" is doing a Q&A with me, because hello. We have your knitting mistakes here. Mistakes on a plane!

Drive safe, ya'll. And bathe naked in the barbecue sauce if the opportunity presents itself.


bob-b-cue.jpg

Posted by laurie at 12:02 PM