« November 2006 | Main | January 2007 »

December 31, 2006

Happy New Year from the gatos gorditos!

happy new years, pass the fancy feast

happy new years, pass the fancy feast

happy new years, pass the fancy feast

happy new years, pass the fancy feast

May your coming year be filled with happy thoughts and very few hairballs!

Posted by laurie at 5:30 PM

December 29, 2006

Aught-Seven: The To-Dos and To-Don'ts

For days I have been thinking about my Big List for 2007. Before I make my resolutions for a new year, I like to look back over last year's list and see what things I managed to accomplish or what goals changed as the year aged. Then I start my new list.

Ah, listing. If only it burned calories.

My 2006 List was surprisingly on track with the basic theme of my year: Get Better. All my years sort of have a theme, or at least I like to think they do. I want to feel as if my year, my time on this earth, is making me more of who I want to be as time goes by. Also, themes! Almost as fun as lists!

The entire span of 2005 was focused on putting myself back together, or merely keeping myself in one piece, ergo the theme was Just Don't Cry At Meetings (anymore). Also, coincidentally, that was pretty much my only resolution in 2005! The theme of 2006 was more optimistic, Be Better. And also, while you're at it, Figure Out Who You Are. My list for 2006 was long and I accomplished some good stuff! I actually went on a date. More than one, in fact. I saw more of my grandma, got new tires on my Jeep, tried as often as possible to live forward, not backward.

This year's list is a little more, uh, wordy than usual. It's a wee bit on the heavy side. But this is an important year, my 36th! A lot of things will be changing this year. There is a huge amount of uncertainty, but there's also possibility. I'm certain 2007 will be the good year, the new year, the best year. Fingers crossed!

Aught-Seven: The To-Dos and To-Don'ts

Practical Stuff First:
• Really re-focus on saving money and spending less. From January 1- March 31, try to eliminate ALL unneccessary spending. Instead, when the urge to buy strikes, write the item down on a "buy later" list. Also, shoes do NOT count as essentials.

• Get a handle on my health. (read: Lose weight already). I mean really. It was fine when I needed to feel insulated from the world, but this is taking things a bit far.

• Go to the dentist and the eye doctor.

• Get brakes checked on Jeep.

• Stop shopping at 7-11.

• Figure out my email problems.

• Send mail promptly (which would be a nice change from not sending it AT ALL.)

• Change credit companies for a rewards program.

• Get free yearly credit report.

• Clean and organize the office.

• Have another yard sale.

• Make appointment to see tax guy. Get taxes completed before deadline.

• Clean the back patio.

• Get sewing machine out of garage.

• Go to snb more often.

Everyday Things:
This year, I'm trying something new. I want to do little things each day, some will (hopefully) make my life run more smoothly. Some will make me healthier, and some are just ... because.

• Walk on the treadmill each day, even if it's just for 10 minutes!

• Spend 15 minutes each evening picking up and tidying the house.

• Take one photo a day. Haven't decided yet what to do with them.

• Take a multivitamin.

• Drink a lot of water.

• Choose not to act out of fear, or insecurity.

• Floss.

• Leave five minutes earlier.
* When I first sat down to write 2007, the only thing that popped into my mind was: Leave five minutes earlier to drive to the bus stop. While this doesn't sound profound, it's actually at the very root of my theme for 2007: Stop wishing reality were different, and start living the best you can with what you've got. You see, each morning I leave my house and drive to the park 'n ride, a trip which used to take me 15 minutes. But traffic has gotten really bad, so now it takes longer, but instead of accepting this fact I just insist on leaving at the same time and COMPLAINING nonstop about traffic, "Why is traffic so bad? It shouldn't be this bad! It should not take this long to go just four miles!" But it does. That is life. Leave earlier and relax, stop making yourself crazy and giving yourself a case of road-rage hives.

The Main Event:

In 2007, I will turn 36 years old. In Chinese Astrology that makes me a Pig (OK THE IRONY IS NOT LOST UPON ME THANKS A LOT UNIVERSE! LOVE YOU!) and me and the fine people of China happen to think this will be an exhilirating and crazy year. I know things will be changing for me in a lot of ways, and I want to try to handle that with as much dignity and grace as I can muster. You know, as a Pig and all.

• Expect and want good things and don't feel guilty about it.

• Resist the urge to minimize successes.

• (private)

• Understand that all change, even good and happy change, comes with stress.

• Make every effort to be happy. Choose to work hard, live well, and love someone. It's all a choice. I could just as easily choose to hole up, wonder why things are the way they are, and complain. But I don't want to! I want the baseline to always feel safe, but in between I'd rather choose risk over fear, temptation over empty, something (even just the hope of something) instead of the safety of nothingness.

• Don't take the easy way out.

• Appreciate.

• Move. At some point this year, God willing, I will pay off my outstanding financial obligations from the lawyer and the married debt and that whole piece of work. It's taken me a LONG time to do it, but I feel it's now so close! When this happens, I need to move. The little house in the valley has been good for me and perfect for my transitional life, and now I need to find a safe and happy and hopefully less maintenance-intensive place for me and the felines to spend some time. Plus, mentally it's time to move past the "I'm Divorcing" house and into the "I'm Living My Life" house. Also, it would be nice if it had stairs because Bob needs the exercise.

• Set the bar high and keep it there. It might make it harder (especially when dating) but it's worth it. And nothing is worth sacrificing your personal dignity.

• Don't sacrifice personal dignity.

• (private)

• Get a good night's sleep.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

So, that's my list for 2007. It was only when making this list that I realized the most important goal of 2006 had actually already been accomplished. I'm happy. I'm not happy all the time, I still get sad and lonely and scared and right now I have a blemish on my forehead that rivals the North Star. NOT happy about that!

But deep down inside me, I am okay. I set out to accomplish something this year and I did it. Sure, I do get terribly lonely sometimes and I miss hugging on someone, I want things. I have fear. But I'm basically happy, pleased with the way things are going and excited about where it all may go.

This time last year I wasn't sure the story would have a happy or even interesting ending. The year before that, I thought the ending had already happened. Honestly, I'm still not sure what my life will look like at the end of all this or what road I will be walking down next ... but I know I'm ready to find out. And I will even leave my house five minutes early, just so I don't get road rage along the way.

Happy 2007. Go make your list!

Posted by laurie at 2:43 PM

December 28, 2006

The Unbearable Cuteness Of Being


Posted by laurie at 7:45 AM

December 27, 2006

Knitters get the shout out!

Hey! Very exciting news! Go over and visit LAist today and check out the crazy cat lady Top Ten list of local yarn shops. I could only talk about places I myself have shopped, so be sure to add your twelve cents on our other fabulous LA yarn haunts. And even if you aren't local, show them some comment love for recognizing The Power Of The Knitters. I figure next year Time magazine's person of the year will be You: The Knitter. We're the only ones who make a damn bit of sense anyway.

Posted by laurie at 9:21 AM

December 26, 2006

Christmas pictures

I actually made these from scratch! If by "scratch" you mean Duncan Hines. Everyone seemed to like them, though.

We all sat around and chitchatted and caught up. There's aunt Pam and Bill and Thelma in the back and Greg.

Doesn't Grandma look awesome!

Then there was the christmas day gift opening, oh my gosh it was so awesome. You should have seen the laughing and smiling all around. Plus, later there was karaoke in Spanish. OH YES THERE WAS.

Mr. Hakim gets some help with gift-opening.

Bill hates having his picture taken, so I snuck up on him with the camera.

I adore Raydine. She got all gussied up for Christmas! Usually we catch up on what's happening in my love life. Obviously that was a really short conversation this time. Ha!

Then when I got home, I found Roy holding down the fort... literally!

Hope ya'll had a Merry Christmas. Mine was awesome. Aunt Pam even had Christmas presents under the tree for one very crazy cat lady (!!!) and dinner was delicious and we all played Scattergories on Christmas Eve and I have to tell you, Grandma is looking amazing and doing so well. Traffic wasn't even that bad on the way home, a Christmas Miracle if ever there was one.

When I got home it was late and the cats were hungry and I changed into my pajamas, made dinner for everyone (fancy feast for some, microwave popcorn for others) and I walked from room to room and looked around.

My house is very small, and within its walls are all the things that anchor me to earth. I used to think all my stuff and furniture and shoes and plates and spoons were weighing me down, sometimes now I look at it and I hope it can keep me from just disappearing.

The next year is going to be a really good year. I tell myself that a lot, it becomes a mantra. Over and over: Next year will be a good year. Thirty-six will be the best age. Aught-seven will be the new year, the good year, the happy year.

I don't want to hate the holidays, but I secretly do. I didn't sit it out this year, though. I bought a tree and decorated it and gave my coworkers gifts and even listened to Christmas music once of my own volition. I liked stretching out on the living room floor at night and watching my orange cat try to plan out exactly how he could sit inside the tree's branches, between a glass penguin and a snowflake ornament. Every time he managed to free a frosted, sparkling ornament from the tree he looked so pleased that I just let him do it until half the branches were bare. Then I would put the fallen soldiers back on the tree each night before I went to bed so he'd have something to do while I was at work the next day.

That part was nice.

I used to suffer from Jerry Maguire Syndrome: always needing someone to complete you. Not true, as it turns out.

Most of all I want to stop always wishing that things were different and just see a situation for exactly what it is. Sometimes I catch myself saying, "But I don't WANT it to be this way," or "WHY is this happening?" and it's all useless, just a waste of time, because I will never change what is, I can only change how I am.

It's not futility to realize you have no power over a thing. Just do the best you can with what you've got, I guess.

This time last year I was near-catatonic with fear and anxiety, not sure how I would walk through the whole day without dissolving, my divorce so recently final and I was alone, in every way as alone as I have ever been. I'm not sure I have changed much. On Friday at work I was ready to leave from the moment I arrived, if I had to answer one more question about what my plans were for the weekend I might have become recently unemployed, what with the nervous breakdown and all. Somehow I managed to smile and partly that was because this year I had actual plans, going down to see my grandma.

Of course you have to make chitchat and be nice and so on, especially at work, but after a while I noticed something odd. I myself wasn't asking the normal questions, the stuff everyone asked me. ("So! What are your plans for the holidays? Spending it with family?" "Spending it with a new boyfriend?" "Going home to see family?" "So, having people over?")

I found myself saying, "Are you enjoying the Christmas honking?" or "Have you managed to stay out of a diabetic coma with all the chocolate in our office?" or "I hope you have a nice weekend." I didn't realize I was doing it. I made no special effort to be impersonal. But maybe after so many days and weeks and excruciating hours of painfully oblivious questions about what is supposed to be a happy and festive and lovey-dovey time of the year, I have developed a keen sense of what not to ask. You never know what someone's own personal loss is or what the holidays are doing to them. I have stopped asking personal questions at all, even the most mundane or innocent.

Sometimes I want to move. I want to go someplace new where nobody knows me and just drive on a new street and have a new job and wear different clothes. I want to make up a brand new life, invented whole cloth from my fantasies. I want to be someone completely different from who I am.

But that would be a lie. Lies seem easier but then in the end you're still you, just hidden a little better.

I like how Grandma never complains, neither do Bill or Raydine or Aunt Pam. I like that my parents were thrilled to hear me happy on the phone. I wish they were here, or I were there, wish wish wish. I do a lot of it.

I was really glad everyone liked the cupcakes, and no one got botulism from them. I've spent Christmases alone and Christmases with family, husband, and now I'm glad I didn't check out this year, too, even though it was the right decision last year. This year I had a great time, and late at night on Christmas Eve Grandma told me how she and Grandpa met, and Aunt Pam let me get my OCD on by cloroxing her kitchen and I knitted a little on my mismatched scarf and really, it's not that we have to live up to some made-for-TV movie of a perfect holiday. We just do the best with what we've got and be happy with it, stop always wishing things were different and just enjoy what's happening in our real lives, not dwell on the fear life, or the but-I-want life. When I say "we" I mean "me."

Now if that isn't some wine-glass philosophizing, I don't know what is.

Posted by laurie at 7:17 PM

December 22, 2006

First Day Of Winter, last day of the week THANK GOD. And I don't mean for the winter part.

At some point I will max out the title length on this diary software and when that day happens, I will be secretly glad inside. Hee.

Last night I went to Stitch 'n Bitch, it was so nice to be able to sneak away from work early and sit and knit on something ... something odd, as usual. I know some folks love knitting socks, and others are addicted to sweaters or tops or anything wearable on the torso region. Some folks find solace in the simple hat. Myself, I am and will always be a scarf girl. I might cheat and make other things from time to time but I always come back to the scarf. It's portable, flexible, doesn't take too long, and best of all you can make one from all the mismatched yarns in your stash:


Ellen, who is always coming up with the most unique ideas and also MY GOODNESS that woman is prolific! She can out-craft and out-crochet anyone in 50 states and two territories so WATCH OUT. Amazing! She made these adorable dolls of her and husband Larry, and they look somehow exactly like the human versions. That is talent! I once tried to make a voodoo doll of a really bad boss at on old job many moons ago, and it came out looking like a slightly stoned and fat pope. The voodoo-ee looked like Doogie Howser and nothing like a pope. Go figure.


And Ellen made Faith a crocheted hat with panels cut from Fresca cans for her birthday present, which was hilarious and also strangely really cute. And while I did not share this factoid last night, because I am sensitive to the fine line one can cross over from "somewhat goofy" to "really sort of scary backwoods CrackerAss McCracker" I will tell you now that when I was a kid we used to summer at a lake resort in Texas. Or, in other words, we would drive out to Possum Kingdom Lake and stay in a camper for a few weeks. And it was the best part of the whole summer, mostly because there was an old guy who lived on a Barge, on POSSUM KINGDOM LAKE, and his name was Elmer and he LOVED all things Budweiser. He drank a fine amount of the king of beers, and he decorated his houseboat with all Budweiser stuff, and wore pants with Budweiser cans printed on them and I loved this guy because he had a shaggy dog he would let me play with all summer, as if it were my own dog. And Elmer actually had a hat with Budweiser cans sewn into it, like the jokey-jokey Fresca hat.

Ah, the sweet memories of youth.

Here is Faith looking fetching in her Fresca Can hat:

Sometimes I get really anxious and nervous in crowds. I was really excited to go to SNB last night, even though I'll admit I was a little bit nervous. I have been pretty isolated for the past few months working on big projects and this was the first time I'd been out and about in a long while. There was only one time when I really wanted to flee, the rest was a lot of fun and if you knew anything about the chaos inside my head, only wanting to hide ONE time is kind of like being NORMAL.

A lot of folks will never get the hermit thing ("Oh for God's sake, Laurie, just go, nobody will bite you." But it has nothing at all to do with that kind of fear, it's isolation, general weirdness and profound fear of rejection all rolled into one tidy and excellent package, treatable at a mere $125 per hour!) and anyway, it's not easy to explain so I won't try here. But if you are like me and you're mostly 100% terrified of any social interaction that doesn't involve paying for wine at the 7-11, then I hope you'll make it your New Year's Resolution in 2007 to try AT LEAST ONCE to go to some sort of gathering, like our Stitch 'n Bitch.

It is not easy, and it is not anxiety-free, and I say stupid things all the time and smell people's yarn and start sentences I forget to end and I get confused because a lot of people are talking at once and I am terrified of being rude and not hearing ALL of them, but ... SO WHAT. Seriously. It's worth it. It's worth every ounce of panic and anxiety just to go somewhere and see nice people and listen to real folks talk, about everything and nothing, and see pictures on their cellphones of cats and Christmas stockings they made, and look at each other's projects, see someone has a new hair style or a lovely knitting bag, just for one night to actually have moments where you interact with other women like an average lady, just someone like everyone else, it is absolutely worth it.

I was lucky and got seated near these two, Laurie Ann and Sarah, who just make you feel welcomed and comfortable with their smiles:

Just seeing this picture makes me happy I went, all over again.

Posted by laurie at 12:11 PM

December 21, 2006

Conversations With My Dad #328

(By the way, this whole "taking a break from writing in my online diary" thing is going really well!)

Me: Hey Dad, thanks for the Christmas card!

Dad: Oh, well, we're glad you got it. We weren't sure if the mail would be backed up with that crazy weather in the Rockies.

Me: And with the crazy weather we're having in Los Angeles.

Dad: Really?

Me: Yesterday I left the house in the morning and there was some sort of substance on my Jeep. I thought it was pollution. It was... like snow.

Dad: You had FROST? Did you alert the media?

Me: I can only assume the media already received that memo, since my Jeep was not the only affected vehicle.

Dad: I see. So, what is the weather like today? Is it harsh and extreme?

Me: Well, it's hard, I mean we're currently at what appears to be FIFTY FOUR degrees. And of course you know the worst part, I can't even believe we're having to deal with this, but the worst part...

Dad: ...?


Dad: How will you endure it? Do you think you should leave work early today, just in case this partly cloudy weather continues?

Me: Luckily, Dad, my Jeep has four-wheel drive. And I have a Starbucks in the building so I can load up on supplies prior to the drive home.

Dad: That's my girl, always thinking ahead.

Me: You taught me well... preparation is the key to success!

- - - - - - - -

I do hope that wherever you are, you are warm and wearing a handknit scarf and drinking a strong beverage, especially if some of the mystical "snow" is falling outside. Over here in Los Angeles we will try to endure our partly cloudy conditions with dignity, and with overpriced coffee.

I don't know how much longer the Christmas tree will last, though. Someone's been decorating it with her presence when I'm not home.


Posted by laurie at 11:47 AM

December 20, 2006

Project 365 ... maybe.

As you may recall, I am someone who LOVES to make New Year's Resolutions, and I start thinking of them prior to the New Year so I have an idea of where I want to go in the next 365 days of my life. I'm not sure if I actually feel any real sense of urgency about completing items on the list, it's more of an ongoing goal-making exercise. I just like to keep some sense of focus in my life, however silly or ridiculous it may seem.

I read about this thing called The 365 Project, where you take a photo a day for the next year. I am thinking of doing it, not because I need to take more pictures (I carry my camera with me everywhere I go as it is, and tend to annoy both humans and felines with the volume of photo-snapping that goes on) but because I think it would be fun, and kind of challenging to select which picture perfectly sums up a day in your life.

I don't know if I would post them, or just file them away in a folder somewhere, or maybe print them out at the end and make something with them. But it seems like a fun idea, something I might enjoy. I don't want it to become just another committment, though, another hassle in an overstressed day. And I already take a bazillion pictures a week! Then again, it might be an interesting way to document your life. Maybe instead of digital, I could go old school and Polaroid my year. That would at least make a nice collage at the end.

Would you ever think of doing something like this? Would you keep the pictures private, or would you share them? Would you worry it would become just another obligation? And what would you do with the 365 pictures at the end of a year?


Posted by laurie at 10:34 AM

December 19, 2006

Cat hijinks and holiday movies and another list.

Because apparently all I can do right now is Make Lists, this is yet another in what can only be described as my long, wordy, grammatically suspect list-making neurosis.

1) The Holiday
Jen and I went to see this movie over the weekend. We were both excited to see some much-needed holiday season fluffy happiness and do a little reality-escaping for a while. Yes. Well. Reality was certainly tossed aside for this movie. I was so disappointed! For one thing, why does Kate Winslet get stuck with Jack Black as her romantic lead when Cameron Diaz gets Jude Law? Maybe I am the only person on the planet who is not a Jack Black fan, but even so... Kate Winslet is a sexy, amazing lady and she gets stuck with Jack Black? And who on earth would believe Jude Law falls in LOVE with Cameron and wants her to be the new mother of his two small children after what appeared to be three nights of drunken sex in a two-week period? Not to mention they first have sex within five minutes of meeting. That's what passes for true love nowadays? Did I really just say nowadays? And I loved how the filmmakers couldn't even come up with real or decent or good dialogue for both the Jude/Cameron all-day montage (so they played music over the talking) and same with the very end -- no good dialogue, let's just play a happy song!

And the whole movie made me flaming mad because basically all movie-makers seems to think there are only two types of single women in this world:

a. Women who are single and mousy and fade into the background with their cat/dog/child and they wear sweatpants all the time and eat ice cream, and they are neurotic.


b. Women who are ball-busters and obsessed with their careers and have no life outside work and dress like men or vixens, and they are neurotic.

I am really sick of this stereotype. There's a whole world of female experience out there, and I don't know anyone who perfectly fits either of these dumb stereotypes, but that's all we see in movies most of the time. Plus, the whole "a woman has a better chance of dying from a terrorist attack than marrying after age 35" thing has not only been totally debunked, it's also insulting and stupid and boring and I cannot believe this movie threw it in there. Hated "The Holiday." Don't waste your eight bucks.

2) But loved Peanuts.
The Charlie Brown Christmas special was on TV, and not only did I watch it for the first time in decades, but I cried about thirty-seven times, because ... oh, the holidays. I have always been the Charlie Brown in my family, bringing home the ugly tree because it looked like it needed me, feeling sad and generally wearing unflattering horizontal stripes. You know when Lucy says, "Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you are the Charlie Browniest!" and it is not a compliment? I cried. That is when I realized that I MAYBE NEED A VACATION. In someplace warm and sunny, where men in little red bikini pants bring you drinks with umbrellas in them. Because that is my fantasy, okay? And the fact that I shared that fantasy out loud at the holiday lunch last and possibly caused my boss to break out in hives of embarrassment? Well, that is the Charlie Brown in me.

3) The Crinkle Cave

Bob REALLY wants to see what is inside the cave. He looks inside and while he thinks it might be Roy, a cat he has known his whole life, he also has never seen Roy INSIDE a crinkle cave. Ergo, it might be not Roy at all, but instead a scary intruder! He was very alarmed at first by a (possibly) new cat inside the new tent. Then he started batting at the thing inside the cave. But he could not, alas, figure out how to get his behemoth bulk inside the cave ... for HOURS. Bob is very charming. He is kind of a himbo. Sometimes he tumps over with no warning at all.

The crinkle cave has been a big hit with everyone except Sobakowa who is, as ya'll know, not really a cat and so not interested in dumb cat things.








Posted by laurie at 10:06 AM

December 18, 2006

Another Monday, another list.

I will try not to make this weird listing thing a regular occurrance, but I don't know that I have much coherent to say what with this time of year making a person anxious, and broke, and also I may not be writing much between now and New Year's. Then again, every time I say that I'm going to be off living a real life instead of writing my life away, I start posting forty-two entries a day. Paging Dr. Freud for reverse psychology class! But bring your gloves because... it's COLD. The brain shrinks when it's cold.

1) And "cold" is a relative term.
Today I came into work wearing the following: One knee-length wool peacoat over a sweater, a long-sleeved shirt and a tank top. Gloves, scarf, pants, thick socks, suede boots. It was FORTY-FOUR DEGREES outside. In California! I know that somewhere someone is thinking that 44 degrees sounds like a springtime warm spell, but in Los Angeles it's the near-end of the world. Someone in the elevator asked if it was cold enough to snow. "Well," I said, "If by 'snow' you mean 'sunshine all day' ... then yes. Yes it is." Since it was only 7 a.m., this person did not hit me.

2) Speaking of violence
People have lost the ability to drive. It happens every year, as the holidays get closer and closer, people get crazier. They're REALLY IN A HURRY, plus they are LATE FOR SOMETHING, plus they are maybe pissed off or tired or stressed out. And there are people on the road who do not normally drive and, for example, do not know how to merge or turn left or use their car at all. It's weird, this collective holiday stress all over the city. And there is a LOT of honking. Today there was a five-car pileup ON THE ONRAMP. How on earth do five cars tangle on an on-ramp at rush hour? When you are moving 0.03 miles per hour at a metered light? Someone explain this to me. Please.

3) Could I have some e. coli with that?
Is it really wrong and weird that with all this news about Taco Bell I suddenly, really want to eat there? I know I should be appalled by the lack of apparent food safety but instead all I think when I hear another news story is... enchirito! Nachos bellgrande!

4) But I haven't eaten there.

5) The right Survivor won!
Most of the time I think the wrong person wins Survivor. But I pegged Yul Kwon from Day One as a winner... and he actually won! I know a lot of folks were really freaked out by the race hype before the show, but in the end the final four were: one Latino guy who was pretty much the most amazing athelete ever, two Asian-Americans, and an African-American woman who was the most serene female player ever to go that far in a whole season of Survivor. By playing the race-tribes up in the beginning, they had a WAY more diverse cast, and for the first time you saw a whole spectrum of people from each race instead of the token black guy, or the token Latina like they usually do. I hope they keep up this way with a more mixed cast every season!

6) Strange things you never get used to.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles, I had never seen a police helicopter except on the TV. But out here they fly overhead at night regularly, circling overhead with the eye-in-the-sky, a hugely powerful spotlight that can illuminate all sorts of crime on the ground. I don't live in a real bad neighborhood, much, but I am thisclose to a bad neighborhood (this is Los Angeles ... everyone is close to a very bad neighborhood.) Last night the ghetto bird hovered and circled around my neighborhood forEVER. And they are loud, and sometimes the light goes into your windows which freaks a person out, because you wonder if forty-eight carjacking suspects will be running through your backyard any moment. But the noise! I felt like I was in the opening scene of M.A.S.H. for about an hour and a half. That is just not something about big city life I will ever get used to.

7) Yes I bought the felines a Christmas gift.
They are, after all, the entire sum of my divorce settlement and I want to keep them happy. I really splurged and spent a whole $9.98 on this thing called a "crinkle cave" which is a little nylon tent and the floor of it makes a crinkle sound, the same sound my cats make when they tear apart the Sunday paper and sleep on it. Surprisingly enough, the cats love the new cave. Roy loves it most of all and has spent almost every waking/sleeping moment huddled up inside the tent since I gave it to them on Saturday. I took pictures of Bob annoying Roy in the new toy, but of course I forgot to bring my camera today. Whoops.

* edit: I got this crinkle cave thingy at Target but they don't have it pictured online. They do, however, have the cube version pictured here. Except the description does not specifically say "crinkle" so I don't know if it is just a boring silent cube. The cave is shaped more like a little tent, it's longer than a single cube looks like a miniature camping tent. With a cat inside. I'll post pics tomorrow.

8) Really, I need a break.
So if the diary-keeping becomes sporadic in the next few days you know why. I am probably stuck in traffic, or bemoaning my enchirito, or watching the exciting Cat Cave Smackdown that's happening in my living room while Survivor is on hiatus. I didn't say this was an exciting life, the life I'm living, but it is certainly not without it's fair share of risk ... especially if I drive to the Taco Bell tonight after work. IN THE COLD. People! It's just edge-of-your-seat excitement here at Chez Nuttier Than A Fruitcake! Alert the police helicopters!

Posted by laurie at 11:49 AM

December 15, 2006

Police Release Surveillance Images of Crime,
Seek Public's Help in Identifying Suspect


Posted by laurie at 9:55 AM

December 14, 2006

Happy Holiday Party, pass the duct tape please.

Today is the holiday party at work and I am wearing the appropriate underwear.

Women have to endure so much: less pay for equal work, sexism, childbirth, cramps, waxing, tweezing and ... thong panties. My parents are reading this right now and my dad is saying, "For the love of God what is wrong with this child? Can't she go one whole week without talking about her underwear on the computer?"

And my mom is looking at him and laughing and saying something like, "Well, it's better than when she talks about batteries."

And my dad will look at her, and have no idea what she is talking about.

"What's wrong with talking about batteries?" he'll ask.

And my mom will change the subject.

My inner recluse gets the best of me on many occasions, but not today. I have no choice but to attend the holiday party, because I do love my job and enjoy my coworkers and like their company. And of course, free lunch is really good! Except I am the sort of person who can say the most wretched and embarrassing things at any time, even without alcohol or truth serum or torture. I get nervous, and my brain loses the ability to censor and filter out the really dumb stuff, and before long everyone is quiet and trying to change the subject to baseball because I have said something brilliant like:

"I'm just too short for my weight, you see."


"If they can make a fish that walks on land and cannibalizes other fish, I don't see why I can't put 16-inch spikes on the back of my Jeep to prevent tailgating."


"His face is too small for his head."

The best way to offset the impending anxiety of keeping my mouth closed is to dress as nicely as possible, hoping it will send a signal to my brain that this is a dress-up event and I should maybe stop with the talking. To that end, I am wearing my favorite sweater, and I have on nice boots that are only semi-uncomfortable. The underwear problem occurred when I pulled on my black trousers this morning, the dressy ones with the appropriate amount of butt-hugging lycra, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but some visible panty lines right on my rear.

At first I wondered if my cellulite had bunched up in weird ways, but then I realized I had no alternative but to break out the thong. Well, technically, I could change my outfit, but that seemed exhausting and might involve pantyhose. When it gets down to the deathmatch of pantyhose versus thong I have to say it's a tough decision. Thong won out, but only because the idea of struggling with a pair of tights so early in the morning might have made me return to bed in a fit of feminine frustration.

Note to self: Do NOT re-tell this little gem over lunch.

So now I am waiting for lunch and trying REALLY hard not to think quirky thoughts, which as ya'll can see is going really well, and also there is the uncomfortable sensation that I have a little piece of Victoria's Secret where the sun doesn't shine. It's enough to drive a person to drink. Except you know... THAT would be a recipe for disaster.

Oh, Holidays. How I do wish you were over already.

Posted by laurie at 9:02 AM

December 13, 2006

The Crazy Cat Lady Dream House

One day when I am rich and infamous, or maybe when I finally pay off all the debt from my marriage and divorce, I will save up my pennies and dimes and replace the current scratched-up, ugly cat furniture with this:

Martini Kitty Condo: click here for details

The martini cat tree is just one of the AMAZING and fabulous creations of the Hollywood Kitty Co. I found out about this place when I was at the Sherman Oaks Veterinary clinic one day, waiting to pay for yet another visit for the world's most expensive cat, Roy T. Feline. This fellow in line noticed my large (gorgeous) (and loud) cat in the carrier, meowing at the top of his lungs because GET ME OUT OF THIS CAGE YOU HORRIBLE CAT-HATING HUMAN.

And the nice man in line complimented the gorgeousness and also vocal range of my cat, then handed me his business card.

"I have a cat furniture company, " he said. "We build custom pieces, too."

I have long ago given up and realized I must have some invisible "World's Biggest Sucker" tattoo on my forehead, since I often get accosted by crazies, and drunks, and salesmen. But this guy was nice and didn't try to sell me anything, just handed me the business card and left.

Later, I checked out his website and was floored by the creativity and sense of humor that went into some of these pieces. I thought other equally crazy cat ladies would get a kick out of these fabulous cat trees and condos, and I just love anybody who can have an eye for the absurd. Of course, fabulousness doesn't come cheap and these things are incredibly expensive (for my budget) but one day maybe I can afford one, if not the martini than this masterpiece:

Picasso Kitty Condo: click here for details

Or this one:
Sinking Titanic Kitty Condo: click here for details

Hey, don't judge. Even a crazy cat lady has dreams, you know.

Posted by laurie at 8:55 AM

December 12, 2006

When dating, one must make a list and check it twice. Like Santa. Or a parole officer.

All good endeavors in life require a list, so dating is no different. And while it's important to note that dating is an often hard, horribly embarrassing and awkward thing it also has its good moments.

The first real date I had after Mr. X was fabulous. I don't mean the Tall Guy, who flirted with me and later intimated I was too fat to be a contender in his ultra-hip LA lifestyle. Or the Jamaican cricket player who still lived at home with the parents and played X-box all day and said, "Wanna kick it sometime?" I mean the first, real bonafide date. It happened in March, right after I got back from vacation. We didn't work out as a couple in the end, but Lord that first few weeks was exhilirating, like skydiving in your cute panties and you feel pretty all the time and want more, more, more.

He picked me up that first night and we went to the restaurant and as we were about to walk through the door, he put his hand on the small of my back and lightly ushered me through first. I felt like I had suddenly gotten an infusion of Diet Coke times ten, warm and electric at the same time. Or when he kissed me, the very first time, and all the sudden I realized how good a man could smell and feel all at once. It was like being alive again, the kind of alive where you're pretty sure you're feeling each nerve ending wake up from hibernation, and my don't you look GOOD today!

So it isn't all bad. You just need a list.

Like, for example, a list of what you will and will not put up with. How you want to be treated. What you need and want from a person. What you are willing to give. (Also, a questionnaire for prospective dates is not a bad idea as I have recently learned. Maybe with character references and legal history.) A date gone wrong can make you want to sit in a corner and eat your own head. A date gone right can make you feel skinnier and giddy and rather full of yourself.

The key is to know you deserve the superdates, the ones that make you feel fabulous. I guess if I'm honest I've just been experimenting, trying to figure it out as I go, not sure exactly how much I can demand from a man or from anyone really. What is it we are worth? What can we reasonably expect from people? What do we deserve?

I suspect a lot of people wonder this. Where do I set the bar, not too high so as to exclude good men, but not too low so as to find me sitting in a corner exasperated and contemplating eating my own head on a Saturday night?

When I was fourteen and awkward and in love with my hair, I got a new curling iron with my allowance. After school one day I made my mom sit on the closed toilet seat (blue carpet fuzzy cover, I remember that one for sure) while I curled her hair just so, trying out my new implement of beauty.

She was patient, even though I am sure I was not the most delicate of hair stylists. Around 5 p.m. she heard the downstairs garage door open, and got antsy real quicklike.

"Hurry, finish up!" she said.

"But I'm not DONE YET," I said. Beauty was an art, you know.

"Your dad is home, I want to see him when he walks in," she said.

It was a mystery to me. Who cared? Dad got home every day. I only got a new curling iron once a milennium.

But I saw her squirming, ready to bolt from my bathroom beauty salon, and I realized then -- at fourteen years old -- she was so slap happy to see my dad she was about to keel over. I didn't know it at the moment, but this would become exactly my yardstick one day for who I would let into my life.

Because I want that! I want to feel squirmy and happy and just pleased to see the look of a person. I don't need another marriage, another promise, another ring. I just need a real warmth, some good laughing, and loving, someone who can adore me in the manner to which I would like to become accustomed. And hopefully he likes cats.

It's a good thing to make a list, figure out what you want and know what you are worth. Dating is hard, and sometimes it's boring, or awful, or slow. Sometimes it gives you a story to tell, and not all these stories are of the heartwarming variety. I once had a man literally stand up and FLEE THE SCENE OF THE DATE when he discovered I was an "incompatible sun sign." (Also, on an unrelated note, California is crazy.) It can be hard to meet people. It may feel easier to settle than to keep on keeping on. Whether that is settling for being alone or just settling for less, or more of the same, it's all driven out of fear. And trust me, I KNOW FEAR.

Each of us deserves kindness, honesty, something fun and warm and happy that makes us feel alive down to our very toes. Maybe you put yourself out there and it doesn't work out, like the first man I dated after Mr X. But I will always have that one nice memory of a good evening, one lovely kiss. It's a starting place. I'm trying to figure out what I am good enough for, what I will accept, what I want, what I see for the picture of my new life. Dating is just a tiny piece of it. Frankly I feel kind of victorious for even going out on a date at all! And so I will make a list, because a list feels like progress, and I don't have a handbook anyway.

We all deserve a little slice of happy. Even those of us who sometimes want to give up, or complain a lot, or eat their own head out of exhaustion. And it's not all bad. Sometimes you have a hand on the small of your back or a really good kiss or a warm evening when you think maybe, just maybe, I can really do this. Maybe.

Posted by laurie at 9:25 AM

December 11, 2006

Monday is Listday

1. Poop, a man at your door and cats
One of my favorite online stores is Doctors Foster and Smith, a very reputable and goofy pet emporiun where you can find anything for your animal. I have to buy cat litter online because my local pet shop stopped carrying my brand. I'm not complaining, since that means I now get a visit from the hot UPS man. Hello, Brown! What CAN you do for ME today?

Anyway, once you purchase from the good Doctors, they'll occasionally send you a catalog. I realize I could never get one of my felines to wear this because if I did they would kill me in my sleep, but oh this is FUNNY:

Get it online here.

2. Before you even ask...
The brand of cat litter we use here at Chez Brokeback BankAccount is this one, which has such an unpleasant name I am not sure I can type it out. It is also expensive. And has a weird looking cat picture on the bag. Nice!

But Roy The Cat is a very delicate and nasally-challenged animal who has what I like to call "a condition." It sounds much more optimistic than "an inoperable growth inside the head area." Because of his special condition he sneezes, and has asthma, and snorts a lot. I have tried every cat litter on the market -- LITERALLY. This particular litter has less dust than any other brand I have found in five years of experimentation. It's expensive but worth it. The cats find it an acceptable pooping surface.

3. Speaking of poop
Does anyone else watch "Cold Case" on teevee? Last night they had a show about a country singer's death and it seems that whoever writes this show thinks Southerners are from another planet and we are all named things like 'Truck' and 'Honey' and 'Big Daddy.' This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life. I was incredibly offended by the entire show, portraying Nashville like it was a backwoods creek town. The songs were good, and the actor who played the country singer was hot, but the rest of the show was an insult. It was like the writers of this show learned everything about the South by watching old re-runs of The Dukes of Hazzard. Idjits.

4. Even downtown smells clean now
I had to work on Saturday, I was in the office all day until almost 6 p.m. Cry for me, will you? Then I drove home and I was almost to the 405 interchange when it started pouring down. I wasn't excited to be on the freeway in Los Angeles in a downpour, but Lord I was happy about the rain. I got home and sat down on my patio out back and had a glass of wine and just listened to the rain and wind. It hadn't rained here in eleventeen years, everything was so dry and dirty and cracked from the ultra-low humidity, and listening to it rain was the best Saturday night I have had in a long while. Being alone isn't all bad.

5. Knitted champagne
Found this lady's photo website, and you knitters will love the hand-knit bubbly!

6. Trying to think of a number six
I need more coffee. And sleep. I have been working round-the-clock lately on all sorts of craziness, Sunday was a nice break and I was lazy as a Sobakowa and apparently my body wants more! more! more of the lazy! This one funny thing happened, though. Whoops.

My bedroom has a window that faces out directly on the neighbor's yard and driveway. And even though you'd think my ancient rat-trap of a house would have windows well-soundproofed from the five hundred layers of lead paint, you would be surprised how well sound can travel. And I just forget all about it from time to time and go along my merry way and forget that my neighbors are sometimes (read: ALL THE FREAKING TIME) hanging out in their driveway, right outside my window.

I was un-lazy enough yesterday to do a very few basic things like wash the sheets and launder enough clothes to get me through the week. Did I mention the tired, woe-is-me part? I did? Really? I wasn't sure, thought I'd slip it in again real quicklike.

So I was making the bed. Not very exciting stuff. But when bed-making commences in my house I get A LOT of feline help, mainly from Bob who thinks the sheets are hiding mystical bed mice at all times and said bed mice have to be attacked with great vigor and wiggling of his backside, and he pounces each time I move the sheet or try to tuck it in. This is sometimes annoying and sometimes funny, but if I am quick enough I can usually avoid bodily harm. Yesterday I was not quick enough (see: lazy). Bob pounced with big claws open just as I reached down to fold back the flat sheet. He managed to scratch the roadmap of Tulsa on the back of my hand. I yelled. LOUD.

Me: Bob DAMMIT you scratched me!


Me: I know what I will be having for dinner tonight! One lasagna made entirely out of orange tabby cat! You will taste so good covered in spaghetti sauce and parmesean cheese! And you are fat and will make a REALLY BIG LASAGNA do you hear me? Fatso meano!

Bob: (yawn) (flops over to expose belly)

Me: Or! I might get cat scratch fever and DIE and won't you feel SAD because who would open your little fancy feast cans, then, huh? You'll be SO SORRY when you don't have me to kick around anymore! That's right! I am probably dying as we speak!


From outside: (cough) (giggle) (cough) Anyway, so blah blah blah.....

Yes, that's right. My neighbors heard me talking to MY CAT, in which I first threaten to eat him and next decide to switch tactics and GUILT MY CAT into feeling bad for scratching me. I have lost my damn mind. And now am craving lasagna, with our without tabby cat. Probably without.

But, amusing and crazy as my neighbors may think I am now, wait until I go all the way over the edge and start toting my felines around in one of these:


Gives whole new meaning to crazy. And crazy don't come cheap!

Posted by laurie at 11:43 AM

December 9, 2006

Dating For Dummies

There is a book called "Dating For Dummies." I should probably buy it.

I won't of course. Because that's probably the smart thing to do, get a handbook. Dummies ... do not read the handbook. It's one of our quaint key characteristics.

So, I had been seeing this guy, let's call him Jack. Jack and I had been dating on and off for about five months, since around June of this year. Jack seemed like a pretty nice guy. Jack was divorced from Jill, with whom he had a baby, Jillette. Jilette was now nine years old, and Jack was a single dad, raising his kid. He'd told me about the divorce, how Jill wasn't really taking care of the baby, how he'd fought for custody and then raised little Jillette on his own since then.

Jack seemed like a stand-up guy.

We'd shared some stuff, told each other pieces of our stories as you tend to do per the normal dating procedure. Last week I was on the phone with Jack and we were talking about relationships, in a general sense, and he was saying how important family was, how much he'd always wanted more kids, etc. etc.

I am condensing the conversation, of course. You get the idea, we were just chitchatting. Talking. Then I said, "You know, Jack, I'm really surprised that a guy who is as family-oriented as you are never remarried after Jill."

Jack just said uh-huh, and we talked some more and perhaps an alert was sounded somewhere deep down inside my Female Radar System. Five minutes more of nice conversation (because apparently I am not always on task with the Alert System) and I said, "Jack, really. I'm curious. Why did you decide not to re-marry after Jill?"



"What makes you think I didn't?" asked Jack.

"Um. Let's see. Perhaps because you never mentioned it. In the past, oh, FIVE MONTHS."

"Yeah, well. I did get married again."

And, as it turns out, Jack has been married THREE times and is, in fact, STILL MARRIED TO WIFE NUMBER THREE.

I shall pause for a moment to let that sink in. Because I literally choked on my Fresca and about had a heart attack.

"I'm sorry. Did I just have an episode?" I asked Jack. "Did I hear you say you are STILL MARRIED to YOUR THIRD WIFE?"


"Oh," said Jack, "she moved out a while ago. It's over for all intents and purposes."

"Jack," I said, as calmly as possible when you perhaps want to reach through the phone and snatch someone baldheaded. "Did you not think this was information I should have known maybe five months ago?"

"I just don't tell everyone my life story on the first date, Laurie." The tone had changed. He was... mad. Actually MAD AT ME.

"Jack, I feel deceived. I can't date someone who is married."

Jack was not loving the direction this conversation was taking. "I'm NOT MARRIED," he said. "I don't think of it that way."

"Um, but you are legally married to another woman, right?"

"Legally, yeah." Sigh of disgust... from him.

"Have you filed?" "No." "Legal separation?" "No."

"Well, then it's a lie to say you're divorced. That would be like me telling you from the gitgo that I didn't have kids but had four cute cats, and five months later I tell you ONLY after being asked point blank that I actually had four kids by four babiesdaddies but the state took them away and terminated my parental rights, but whatever, I'm not a mom for all intents and purposes..."

"No, that is COMPLETELY different. That would be horrible, this is just not that big of a deal," he said.

"It's a big deal to me," I told him. "It makes me wonder what other things you may have forgotten to mention. It's a big deal."

"Look," said Jack. His tone was all business now. Loud. Angry. "I HAVE ALLOWED YOU to chew me out about this. Now you either deal with it and move on or we're done."

Me: laughter
Me: even more laughing HAHAHAH YOU ALLOW ME!!!!
Me: heh

"Jack, you don't ALLOW a grown woman her feelings, and buddy you don't know from chew out! You lied to me. You positioned yourself as the saintly divorced single dad who raised his kid all alone, so amazing! So great! Aw shucks! But now I find out you're married, you haven't filed papers, even a legal separation, you don't seem in a real hurry to do so, and you're out there dating? You flat-out lied by telling me you're divorced. I'd be willing to bet money you sell this same song and dance to every girl you meet to make yourself look good. You want chewing out? Oh you have not even heard the chewing out..."

"Are you done?" he asked.

"Well," I drawled. "I could keep going but I do believe you got the general gist of things." Lord, I was mad.

Then he hung up. I promptly deleted him from my phone book. I called Drew and told him what had happened. He laughed. He laughed until I saw the ridiculousness of it, too, that this man was actually angry with me for pointing out his little teetiny fib.

"Do I have to ask every man who wants to take me to dinner if he's married? Even the ones who say they are divorced? Is that what dating is like?" I asked Drew.

"It wouldn't be a bad idea," he said.

"I hate dating."

"Maybe you ought to reconsider the handbook."


Posted by laurie at 5:01 PM

December 8, 2006

Christmas on the cheap?

I love ya'll and the fact that you are so happy I am actually stringing a light or two this holiday season. Of course, you have not seen the War Of Christmas which is occurring on my street, and so my attempts to cheer up Chez Dust Ball are really feeble and frankly just quaint compared to what is happening on my street.

My neighbors are insane.

It started on November 17th -- a week BEFORE Thanksgiving -- when I arrived home after work to find that my neighbors a few doors down, we'll call them the Jones family, had strung up eleventy hundred lights on every outdoor surface of their yard.

Then, the folks across the street from them who we will call the Keeping Up Withs family, spent all day on Thanksgiving outfitting their house with inflatable stuff, like a giant inflatable nativity set, plus a santa and something that looks like Paul Bunyan, I have no idea. It might be an ethnic snowman. Or an inflatable sherpa.

So the Joneses saw what was happening over the the Keeping Up Withs house, and before December arrived they had retaken the torch by placing a big lighted train with wheels that spin around on their ROOFTOP. The Keeping Up Withs then plastered their whole yard and gate and tree with lights. So the Joneses bought a herd of anamatronic reindeer, and then other neighbors got into the mix and before long I looked out on my street and it appeared Santa himself had come to my neck of the woods and vomited Christmas all over the place.

It's very competitive here at Encino-adjacent. Someone might lose a reindeer if they aren't careful.

Me? I had purchased one (1) string of icicle lights and one (1) small front door wreath. I took the lights back because my participation would have just been pathetic by any standard, and now I just let people see my beautiful tiny tree from the windows at the front of the house.

It's a small contribution, yes, but then again, I have been the crazy cat lady recluse who never decorates or says "Hi!" to anyone, except the cute gardeners, and so people will about fall over in shock that I celebrate something other than Wine From 7-11 Day. That's how I see it anyway.

Now, Christmas is hard on people for all sorts of reasons, and one of them is of course of a financial nature. And dear reader Vicki had mentioned in the comments the other day, because we love also dear reader Risha, how she had some ideas on keeping the holidays manageable from a budgetary perspective. Vicki wrote:

To RishaMoonshadow

I'm so sorry for the troubling time you're going through. I know what you're feeling because I've been through it too. My husband's been out of work twice in the last 10 years, once for 1 year exactly and once for 15 months. Both times covered the Christmas season. But we made it through and so will you.

You're right to tighten your belt and stay on a strict budget but here are some things I did that might help you find a little Christmas spirit.

Do what decorating you can with things you already have to make the house look festive. Be creative and use things like toys to make little holiday vignettes. For example, one of the things I made was a sleighing scene. I made a cardboard sleigh and leather shoestring harness and used them with an old Barbie doll and Breyer horse, decorated it with bits and pieces of stuff I could find around the house and set it on a book case. Pull out stuffed animals or anything that you can turn into a decoration.

Play any Christmas music you have or find a radio station that's featuring holiday music. And watch all of the holiday movies on TV that you can as a family.

I still hosted my family get together but we made it a potluck, I just provided the place. My family knew what a hard time we were having and were glad to help after I was straight with them about our situation. We also agreed to just enjoy each other's company and not exchange gifts.

I made a few easy gifts for my husband and children and gave I.O.U's for fun things to do together.

This was all easier for me than for you because my children were older, in their teens, and were more understanding, less disappointed. But perhaps you could do some special things with your child like bake and decorate a batch of cookies together, curl up and read seasonal books together, etc.

Good luck! I hope you can find a little holiday spirit even though I know how worried and depressed you must be. I'll be holding you in my thoughts.

Vicki, those were very good ideas! And Lord I do not know how on earth you ladies with children manage to do it, manage to make it through all the holidays and so on when sometimes you want to be alone in a room with a bottle of wine and a very strong pie.

So, I thought maybe we could all share some good ideas for decorating and gift-giving and general happy-making that are either very cheap or very free. (And by "we" I mean "you all.") I myself would find such ideas very useful, as I am always two days and sixty-two dollars short. Well, currently I am a full $3.50 richer, which is the money I got for returning my one (1) strand of icicle lights.

Also, if you have any ideas for co-worker gifts, um. Some of us would be very appreciative. I've been working some late hours and shopping has been way down on my list of to-dos. Especially because everything is closed by the time I get home at half-past hideous.

But I cannot bemoan coming home so late. My street is really safe to walk on at midnight with the BRIGHTNESS and all. It is so festive and cheerful and crazy, and full of lighted reindeers that bob up and down all night long. Of course, if there are rolling blackouts in the Valley come Christmas Eve, you can be pretty sure Encino-Adjacent is to blame.

I really hope the 7-11 with the good wine is on a different power grid than my street.

Not the actual nativity scene from my neighborhood, but eerily close.

Posted by laurie at 10:19 AM

December 7, 2006

The REAL Knit 'n Crossbones T-shirt!

Thank you so much to the kind folks who pointed out that teevee "annexed" fellow knitter Leah's cool T-shirt design for that Knit Or Go Home T-shirt featured on Gilmore Girls last week. Stupid teevee!! And this very talented Leah has also created a sewing version of the T-shirt that is freakin' adorable! I hope it's OK I am using screencaptures of her website here but ya'll, really, this is the cuteness:


And you can buy this real bonafide knitting swag at Magpie or the Crafster shop. No, I don't know any of these people, and also I can't get the crafster website through the firewall at work (ya'll must be crafting porn, that's my guess) (joking!!) but I do love me a crafty girl, and hope ya'll rush out and buy some of her t-shirts. That sewing one might end up in the Christmas stocking of a few of my oh-sew-crafty (HAR HAR) friends! My knitting friends get a cat, of course. Whoops, did I say that out loud?

Is it Friday yet?

Posted by laurie at 9:11 AM

December 6, 2006

Isn't it ironic, don't you think?


One full year.

My divorce was final one year ago yesterday. THAT IS CRAZY.

Honestly, for all my talk about working it out and trying to bring ChristmasBack (yes one day that joke will get old but not yet! bringing XmasBack!) I have to tell you there was a moment, maybe more than one, where I sat alone on the patio recently and wondered how it was possible that things are where they are. He wanted to be free of responsibility and the antiquated notions of "through thick and thin" and I wanted to be married forever, yet here we are coming up on my third Christmas without love in my life, and he's spending it with his new wife.

This is what we call "irony." Or, also, "shitonastick."

You have your good days and your bad days. Everyone wants you to have more good than bad, of course, so after a while you stop telling people anything. They have a notion there is a timeline on feeling crappy about a thing. In a weak moment, you might whine to your parents about how you miss them, and also HE GETS TO SPEND CHRISTMAS WITH HIS WIFE OF ALMOST ONE FULL YEAR and DIDN'T ALANIS MORISSETTE MAKE A SONG ABOUT THIS. My mom has reminded me how nice it is I will be spending Christmas with Grandma and Aunt Pam and making poor Mr. Hakim's ear fall off from the talking, too. She's right, of course. Others have reminded me how far I have come, all that, it's lovely and true. And also, let us not forget I do not live under a bridge. Thankful all around.

But -- cruel trick of nature -- you can be thankful for blessings and still want some love in your life.

It isn't a thing you can remedy by surrounding yourself with people. That's like being really thirsty, so you visit a public aquarium. Fun, but not thirst-quenching! Some folks will understand that same brand of puddled up, some people never feel it and no one is right or wrong either way. You don't cease to function, you don't grouse about it except on the internet to the whole wide world (whoops) and you just motor along because you are Doing Well, and People Have It Far Worse, and it's fine. It's fine.

My theory is I am just more like a penguin, what with the whole mate-for-life thing. Also, I am sort of shaped like a penguin. It's nice, I have a low center of gravity and lots of padding for harsh winters.

I know this is one of life's little lessons, and I should probably be learning something, or valuing something, or appreciating this time of ONCE AGAIN being free to contemplate my navel without any distractions whatsoever or some other noble thing that my small, shallow brain cannot yet grasp. But ... hello. Universe? I am kind of tired of lessons. I would like some hugging now. Thank you.

So, I have been divorced for a year and I'm fine and nothing dramatic is happening and I did end up buying a fake tree because it fit in my house and was On! Sale! and it came in a decorative urn and I decorated it with all new ornaments, there is not a single thing left to remind me of the past. And it should surprise no one at all that my entire theme was built around a sturdy little fellow who likes the warmth and company of a special also-sturdy friend, and wears nothing at all but a scarf:


So it's fine. You just have good days and bad days, and I guess One-Year-Divorced Day wasn't one of the better ones. It was maybe one of the grouse ones. But I have my penguins, and that is a starting place. I will take this lesson. I will make sure to be appreciative. I will enjoy everything I have. I will not think much of ex-husbands and new wives and so on. YOU HEAR THAT UNIVERSE? I got the life lesson memo. YOU CAN STOP PLAYING ALANIS MORISSETTE NOW.

Posted by laurie at 12:07 PM

December 5, 2006

What Would Brenda Leigh Johnson knit?

In another fine attempt to ensure I never find a boyfriend, here I am taking yet even more pictures of my television set because my favorite fictional best friends are taking up knitting, just like me!

In a blink-and-you-missed-it moment on the special 2-hour episode of The Closer last night, Brenda is off on a four-month paid administrative lead because of what happened on the season finale with the FBI-protected witness, Lt. Provenza and Detective Hot Sanchez. And Brenda is obviously not loving being off work, and has taken up some activities, one of which appears to be knitting!

Brenda reaching for a blanket, you see her knit stash.

Fritz holding Brenda's knitting on the sofa.

I am a big fat nerd, ya'll.

So, okay, I feel there is a line somewhere about ladies with cats and television shows they talk about as if these were real people and also that time I tried to convince someone I wanted to marry my Dyson, but whatever. Brenda Leigh Johnson, my favorite television person (sorry, Lorelai) knits! Or tried to, once.

Now if only Detective Hot Sanchez would give me a call so I could demonstrate my deep appreciation for television law enforcement. Ya'll know.

Posted by laurie at 1:08 PM

December 4, 2006

Everyone is tired.

Roy tries to keep his eyes open between naps.

Posted by laurie at 9:17 AM