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July 31, 2007

Countdown

Finally, what has been the longest awfulest month is ENDING. I have been looking forward to July 31 since about July 5th. If I can make it through the next few hours with nothing catching on fire, breaking, dying, getting sick, costing hundreds of dollars, and more dollars, and general abject tomfoolery then I will have Made It Through July 2007, and that is something.

Hello, how are you?

Just a few little things in more of what has been the Boringest Month Of Posts Ever...

• I have been doing a lot of home-improvement lately, so in August you will be seeing more pictures of my house than you possibly ever wanted. I have also been trolling the internet late at night for design inspiration (Dear Insomnia, please go away now. Your pal, Laurie.) Thanks to Elizabeth S. For pointing me toward this website full of inspired bookcases, this one being my favorite:


From Richardson Sadeki via Desire To Inspire. Click pic to enlarge.


Susannah had a fridge that was bassackwards like mine. She fixed it herself with a toolbox and female know-how with pictures, too. I love pictures of where people live, don't you? I am very nosy that way. (There was a long parenthetical here and it is gone because apparently I still am bad at communicating. As it turns out... July! Still sucking!)

For the record, my doors remained where they were. If you moved them the fridge wouldn't clear the cabinets when it opened. It's fine. I have not suffered.

• Yak Lovers Unite, because we never use the word "yak" enough in a sentence. This via email: "For Shokay's online design competition, each participant/team will submit a yak outfit, comprised of three garments creates from Shokay knitting yarn. Submit your three-piece yakfit to one of three categories: Most Creative – Most Elegant – Most Adorable. All pieces must be original."

Well, of course all pieces must be original! You would not want to plagiarize your neighbor's yak outfit. Duh!

I'm a little unclear on whether or not you're making an outfit for a person or for a yak, but still, I just love this website, I have to tell you. I think they have a good sense of humor... they're calling the submissions "Yakfits." Let me know if you submit something. I am dying to find out how one gets an outfit on a yak.

Also, just one more time for the record: Yak!


Karin Slaughter is funny. She's also addicted to YouTube, but please don't tell anyone that I am spreading that news around town. I mean, she murders people in her books. But she also has a new YouTube video. She's a Goober.


• Thank you to June for sending me an email with amazing pictures of wacky-amazing Japanese watermelons and other coolio fruit shapes. Yes I said "Coolio" because I am so street... like from five years ago. Okay, maybe seven.


From PingMag. Click pic to enlarge.

So that's it. That wraps up the July of Ick. Here's hoping that August is full of funky fruit shapes, goodlooking yaks and more Venus than Uranus.

Posted by laurie at 11:05 AM

July 27, 2007

Finally, it's Friday. Time for The Artful Zucchini!

For Ellen Bloom's birthday recently I presented her with the gloriousness which is ... zucchini. (See, when phrased that way it almost seems like a gift of grandeur and not a gift of "Oh my God the squash are taking over my house, help!")

Ellen's husband Larry, an amazing photographer, was inspired by my gargantuan gadzukes and used them as recent subjects de arte.

artsy-fartsy-squash.jpg

Lovely, aren't they? They seem almost benign in such an artful pose. In fact, resting in their greenness, you can hardly tell at all that they are conspiring to overthrow a Valley, a city, a nation...

Posted by laurie at 9:19 AM

July 26, 2007

One more thing...

My currently nonexistent bangs and I are in the New York Times today ... much thanks to the lovely Anna Jane Grossman for not making me look too crazy. You can read the interview here.

myhair-1989.jpg

Posted by laurie at 9:05 AM

July 25, 2007

White Space

I've spent years now (years!) trying to turn it all around, somehow, some way.

Happiness is so often just about the way you look at a thing, the way you frame the circumstances of your own life. Someone can have a fabulous list on paper and still be terribly unhappy because, well, unhappiness is just as unique and personal as desire or tastebuds or whether or not you're a light sleeper.

I am a light sleeper.

Somtimes I think what I need a white space, some clean, unlined paper in my life, a vacation maybe. There is this day-to-day life we all live and then there is another life we live on lay-away, that good life we'll get to one day in the future.

I hate that I still do lay-away on my happiness. (I bought this amazing handbag that I wanted so badly, I'd never owned anything so perfectly decadent and pretty before, and I carried it for a while every day and then something old and deeply rooted inside me took over and I swapped it out for the cheap Target handbag I always carry and that expensive purse I love so much is sitting inside its dustcover on the top shelf of my closet.) Waiting until... when?

Living life on lay-away. I have six vacation days and can't take a one because I know October is coming and it will be busy. I have a good life coming, I just know it, hold on until it gets here.

Then I know the truth. I want to escape wholly, just start driving and end up somewhere and not speak to a soul along the way. A clean, white space to breathe in. Get a sound night's sleep. I cannot remember the last time I slept soundly. Studies say that happiness can be measured by your closeness with others and I know this is an area of grave concern, I have no close relationships at all.

The conflagration of events just happened in July, a conspiracy, really, timed to mire me so deeply in despair that even a casserole could not fix it. Multitudes of casseroles. There was simply nothing to be done. Just wait it out.

There is a strangling sort of unhappiness that can ash over you when you're in the shower and you place your cheek against the cold tile wall and just cry, the only place you can be sure it's all washed away and the neighbors can't hear, can't differentiate from the sound of water and the heaving sound of crying.



Comments closed today.

Posted by laurie at 3:42 PM

Color-by-Number and Interviews

More than one eagle-eyed reader noticed the remarkable literature filing system at Chez Insomnia. No, not the Dewey Decimal System or the commonly approved "A-to-Z" method (I file people in my address book by first name anyway). The books at my house are arranged by color and size.

One night in a fit of wine and enthusiasm I took everything off the shelves, piling them in like-minded pools of color, all the red/pink/oranges in one spot, all the blue spines together, light to dark or whatever visually appealed to me. I love it. Something about the symmetry makes the room seem less cluttered. Ideally I'd have everything behind frosted glass panels so there's no visual clutter at all, and also ideally I would be the filling in a George Clooney-Mark Wahlberg sandwich and we would live happily in Gloucester in our clapboard Victorian and so on but I digress.

Someone asked me one day how I find a book if it's not alphabetical (I wish I could remember who asked me that question, I'd have to show her my address book and really mess with her mind). But I don't have any problems finding my books. After years of decluttering I only hold onto my best friends and all my books are memorable to me, aren't yours? I know their shape and size and color and font by heart.

I searched through my files of photos for a picture of the bookcase before it was re-arranged by color. This was the best I could find. It's really a picture of the Sobakowa caught off guard by Flashmonster (with a little Bob-paw in the top).

Before:
bookshelf-before.jpg

And now:
bookshelf-colorized.jpg

I love it. That's all that matters.

And speaking of books and reading and all that, there's an interview with me in ForeWord Magazine's "ForeWord this Week" column. Look under ForePlay. No, I am not kidding. ForePlay!

I love ForeWord Magazine, they're fabuloso, so this is a treat for me. Of course, that interview happened a while back so I'm done reading "Runaway" now and just checked out "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert from the library (I know, I'm late to the party.) But since it's a library book I can't read it in the kiddie pool ... don't want it to get smudged. Everyone else has Harry Potter fever and I am thrilled that people are reading, that's a good sign! Maybe one day I will get a vacation, a real vacation, and I'll load the whole series up in my suitcase and ship off to Mexico for a week and read about wizards and such on the beach. Or in the kiddie pool in the Valley. Then later I will file them away with my top-secret color coded shelving system!

Posted by laurie at 1:06 PM

July 24, 2007

Odds 'n ends, Tuesday edition

Ah, back to work! My inbox runneth over.

Valley Woman In Guinness Book Of World Records For Overdeveloped Left Calf Muscle; Constant clutch usage in traffic cited as deciding factor
Even though summer is supposed to be a lighter rush-hour season (school's out and so on) the road to perdition...er, downtown ... has been lined with cars on fire, cars overturned and cars in general stages of stoppage for the past two days. And even though I am spending the better part of three hours out of each day sitting in traffic, this week is a vast improvement over last week because I am safely seated on the nice, comfortable air-conditioned commuter bus. Until it catches on fire, I guess. Hey, it's happened before!


Peeping Tomette Stares Out Bus Window - Film Footage At Eleven
Now that I am no longer frantically knitting projects for the youknowwhat or frantically editing pages or frantically melting down quietly to myself, I have time to read or listen to my ipod or just stare out the window as I sit on the aforementioned bus. (Truth be told I could use some frantic right now. Anyway. Moving on.) I love staring out the window, quiet, watching people go by in their cars and wondering where they work, if they're going home alone or to a family or to three cats and a pile of laundry. Someday I won't be commuting (please please, amen) but until then I try to look at it as the one space out of my day where I don't have to phone anyone or answer email or do the dishes or animate banner ads or decode usage reports. Just sit.

Previous Years' Hobby Suffering From Global Warming; Scientists Say Shopping Still Unharmed
I ordered this amazing, gorgeous Ozark Handspun yarn from the Atlanta yarn shop Knitch a few weeks ago:

ozarkhandspun.jpg

Isn't it beautiful? I love wacky, deconstructed, messy yarn. I think it's beautiful. I don't know what I'm going to make from it, right now it's just sitting in a bowl on my kitchen table. It's too damn hot to touch wool right now.


Hotness Spreads To All Valley Inhabitants
bob-belly-bookcase.jpg
Bob belly, so cute.

Local Blockbuster Card Experiences Heavy Usage While Marlboro Man Still Unavailable
So, I've been having a remarkably bad few weeks. My favorite way of dealing with Very Bad Ick is to smoke alone on the patio with a gallon of wine. Unfortunately, I still have about 8520 days until I turn 60 and can smoke again, so until then I've been turning to other mind-and-body rotting ways of keeping sane, namely eating popcorn and watching TV. I love watching those movies that get you all wrapped up in the plot and you forget everything else, suspension of Icky Reality for two hours! My favorites are action-adventure movies like the Bourne series, spy-intrigue-action drama thrillers. I rented Breach and Shooter last week, both very good (love me some Mark Wahlberg. I'm available Marky Mark! Call me!) but I'm running out of tried-and-true selections so if you have any recommendations for great mind-rot movies, please let me know! Nothing with a sad ending, nothing weepy.

- - -

Well, that's all the news that's fit to print on the internet, home of presidential candidates debating on YouTube. Yesterday I was in the elevator and we have TV in the elevator because we're all swank that way, and there was Anderson Cooper (hello, Anderson!) moderating a Presidential Candidates' Debate for the internet. And for just a moment I paused. Because I have been kind of out of it lately. And I cocked my head to the side like a puzzled puppy. Because ... whoa... is the election this November? It is, right? Because I am already tired of it and it's just July!

Then I realized this is 2007 and the election isn't until NEXT November.

It's enough to make you run toward a Marky Mark movie.

Posted by laurie at 9:36 AM

July 19, 2007

Class Dynamics

This training seminar I'm taking couldn't have come at a better time. It's a great way to keep your mind focused. The only downside is that I am attending this class at an office building right by LAX. Just mention something as foolhardy as "take the 405 from Encino to LAX each day -- and back -- at rush hour" to anyone in the Southern California region and you will see actual shudders of pain.

So, I got an email this week from Laouida Dunn, who asked "Did you really live in Columbus, Mississippi?"

Laouida, why would anyone make up a thing like that? yes I did really live in Columbus and that is in fact where I got my very first ever new car, a Volkswagon Fox. I do not know if you remember that car but it was a small metal box and one of the luxurious options you could pay extra for was a passenger-side door mirror. It was not even a standard feature.

So I loved that car, I truly did, it was red and it was a four speed and was probably held together with glue and rubber bands but I loved it. And in a three-month period it was also:

• attacked by a deer on 182 at night
• somewhat accidentally navigated into a Volvo in a parking lot while someone, I cannot imagine who, was backing up
• the victim of a tree, an entire TREE, falling on it

When my dad asked the State Farm agent how many Acts of God a girl my age could logically sustain in a three-month period, the agent said, "Well, it depends on how mad He is at her, I guess."

I loved Mississippi. My vehicle, not so much.


- - -

Several folks asked about the status of the poo pile in the neighbor's backyard. I am honestly touched that ya'll care about the air quality here in Encino-Adjacent!

Mrs. Lee was complaining about it the other day, she spends more time in nature than I do. But I don't think anything has been done about it. What is interesting to me is that these neighbors have a big swimming pool in their backyard and I know they use it on the weekends because you can hear them back there and you can especially here the horrible EuroDisco music they love to play loudly enough for the neighborhood to enjoy. Anyway, the poop mountain is right next to the pool, maybe five feet away, somewhat hidden by the garden shed. You KNOW they must be smelling it as they splash around. What kind of people sunbathe next to a pile of dog crap?

I mean really.

- - -

And there have been questions about the safety of the backyard since the Zucchini Invasion of 2007.

I honestly haven't been very up-to-snuff (hah, snuff) on my gardening or anything lately. I assume they're back there, growing big as Volkswagons. I'll be sure to check on them this weekend. Maybe I will leave one on the poop neighbor's doorstep in the middle of the night.

Hope ya'll are having a fine week and avoiding the 405 at rush hour. If I have missed any questions, please let me know. I was deleting comment spam and got sidetracked by the eleventy nine ways that numnuts spell Viagra. I would like to meet one of these comment spammers in a dark alley.

I will be the one walking softly and carrying a big zucchini.

Posted by laurie at 6:51 AM

July 16, 2007

Off Learnin' Stuff

I'm in a training seminar all week with limited internet access. My head will be getting heavy with knowledge. And the rest of me will be heavy with the free bagels. Later taters!

Posted by laurie at 6:51 AM

July 14, 2007

Astrological tidbit

I need to have some of the sad stuff get off this homepage so I will just be posting random tidbits here and there. Ya'll understand.

Today is July 14, and the new moon is in Cancer. This is a pretty big deal for all my fellow crabs out there, you only get one new moon a year in your sign.

Susan Miller of AstrologyZone writes:

Ancient astrologers always wrote that the birthday new moon has the power to materialize wishes that are near and dear. Choose the one desire that is most important to you. Set your cell phone alarm for this date - July 14 - and be sure to make an initiation in the days that follow. What you do just after that new moon appears will affect you for the full year ahead. It's that important. Incredibly, this year, the moon will be in elegant angle to Uranus, planet of unexpected developments and lucky breaks.

Who am I to argue with the elegant angle of Uranus?

And for the other eleven signs, um ... hi! Hope you get a new moon in your sign soon! And may Uranus be elegant on that day. And don't forget, you can always get your forecast at AstrologyZone or from my lovely friend Astrologer Phyllis.

Posted by laurie at 8:28 AM

July 13, 2007

There is a recipe at the end, and it is 100% calorie free because grief calories do not count.

Thank you so much for the kind notes and lovely comments, I read every last one and I do thank you. It makes me feel like there is hope for the world yet when so many people can love animals so purely. And now I do not feel so crazy for being this upset, which helps because I have indeed become certifiable, but more on that and a security guard later in this story.

Also, if you know me in person it would be a good idea to pretend you do not know anything that has transpired recently involving felines. Because the mere mention sends me into the ugly cry, the one where you hiccup tears. In fact, at the clinic on the night of Roy's passing, apparently I made such a scene you could hear me outside the closed door of the private room, and also outside the closed door into the lobby. And also possibly you could hear me in South Dakota.

I am not even going to lie to ya'll. I have been just tumped over.

On Wednesday after work I drove to the Ralph's grocery store on Ventura Boulevard to buy kitty grass and new toys for the furry threesome (and wine for me, truth be told). Finally I paid and took my buggy to the car and unloaded my groceries and returned the shopping cart back to the front of the store. Got in my Jeep and drove off.

Halfway home I reached over to get a Kleenex out of my purse and there was no purse.

There. Was. No. Purse.

As it turns out, I HAD LEFT MY HANDBAG IN THE GROCERY BASKET. At the store. In Los Angeles, California. With the following: My wallet, my money, my phone, my credit cards, my ipod, my work security badge, my insurance information, pretty much everything in the world including thirty-eleven nail files and a pack of gum. As ya'll may recall, I have a large handbag. Not the sort you accidentally LEAVE IN A GROCERY CART IN A PARKING LOT IN A BIG CITY.

I have never in my life done such a thing! Ya'll. I have lost my damn mind. I made a U-turn in the middle of A Major Valley Street and went back to the store now in full-on hysterics and the befuddled security guard was still holding my handbag, asking a manager and a clerk what to do with it. When I tried to explain that I am not normally this way, they all looked at me like I was both crazy and dumb as a rock. I am sure if you walk in today and ask about the slobbering fool who abandoned her own handbag in a brain fog they will even as we speak roll their eyes with disgust at my obvious idiocy.

I believe I'll patronize a different store for a while, maybe until I change my hair again or something.

Anyway. I've tried making jokes to myself about how Roy outlasted my marriage, or how he was the best conversationalist I knew... that guy could listen with both ears! But really it's all just falling a little flat. I hate being home and I hate being away. I don't know what to do with myself. I actually thought about even making a casserole because, well, I am Southern. We make casseroles when someone passes on. I think it's genetic, right next to the node of DNA that includes fried food and funny word-making-up-edness, such as tump.

I guess it seems weird to some people that I'm looking for something to laugh about, but another thing about being Southern is that we are always making jokes at funerals, or telling funny stories, or trying hard to find something redeeming in a situation. I remember when my Uncle Mouse passed on and it was a frightfully morose time and my Uncle Ronnel kind of saved us all without even knowing it simply by his rather unique fashion selections.

Now I love my Uncle Ronnel, he's a barrel-chested rancher and lives out on a huge ranch somewhere in the middle of Texas where you can drive all day and see nothing but deer and ducks. He's not the sort who spends his days in suits and ties, and we can only assume on Sundays he and the Lord tip hats privately, and one of those hats probably has a John Deere logo on it.

But when Uncle Mouse passed on the suits came out of the closet and so did the ties, for my Uncle Mouse was an amazing guy, pillar of the community, had built his business from the ground up with his unique blend of people skills, humor and excellent sandwiches. I think all of Longview, Texas and three surrounding counties turned out to pay respects and as such, my Uncle Ronnel came in from the ranch and wore a tie of Texan proportions to the funeral home for the viewing. Rather than letting the grief of the whole evening overtake me, I made sure to make many fine references to his tie throughout the night.

It was a piece of art, really. A large, wide swath of green silk with a marsh of ducks stitched on its surface, and seven shiny mallards were flying up toward the neck knot while a bird dog IN FULL POINT was prominently embroidered at the bottom.

It was an astounding tie. Did I mention it had a five-inch BIRD DOG IN FULL POINT embroidered on the bottom?

Looking back I silently bless and love my Uncle Ronnel even more for wearing that damn tie, so I could have something to fixate on. I sidled up to him in the kitchen area of the funeral home as he was pouring coffee. "Uncle Ronnel, that is the finest tie I have ever laid eyes on," I told him. "You suppose if you bend down a little the dog might finally catch himself a mallard?" He got me in a neck lock and we laughed, breaking the tension.

Later I stood close to my daddy. I slipped my arm through his linking us up by the elbows, which is my favorite way to stand next to a person you love. My dad was having a particularly tough time at the funeral home that night, he and Uncle Mouse had been closer than anyone.

I leaned in and asked him in quiet and morose tones, "Daddy, are you sad right now because Uncle Ronnel won't give you his tie?" He had not expected that question, and his smile and laugh were a happy surprise.

So I am trying to find things to laugh about but I am just morose and gloomy. I think I will bake a casserole after all. When jokes don't work there is nothing better than a pan of green bean casserole.

My Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Ingredients:

1 can (14 1/2 ounce) French-cut green beans

2 cans (14 1/2 ounce) French-cut green beans with NO SALT ADDED

(NOTE: There is a lot of salt in the cheese and onions and soup, but if you like super salty foods, change this to one can no-salt beans, two cans regular. Anyway, you need three cans of green beans.)

About 1 1/4 cups shredded cheese (I use 1 bag of pre-shredded cheddar cheese, the 6 oz. our 8 oz. is fine.)

1 BIG can of French's Fried onions (they come in a small size and a big size, use the one that is 6 oz.)

2 cans of the 10 3/4 oz. size Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup (some people use cream of mushroom but I don't like mushrooms and besides, I think cream of chicken gives this dish a better flavor)

** Note, also I am giving this recipe mostly from memory so I don't know if you need two whole cans of soup, but just get everything moistened and mixed in.

Dash of worstershire sauce

Black pepper to taste (or a dash of cayenne, if you like spicy)


Directions:

Drain the green beans. In a big bowl, combine beans, shredded cheese, and both cans of soup. Add a dash or two of worstershire sauce and a sprinkle of pepper to taste. Mix together pretty well with a big spoon.

Then to this mix, ad HALF the can of French's fried onions. Yes, into the mix. Trust me. Mix it all in just so the onions are evenly distributed. Put this whole mess into a baking pan, I like using those disposable aluminum pans because I am lazy.

Bake in your oven on medium heat (about 350 F) for about 15-20 minutes or until warmed through, cheese melts and everything is bubbly.

Take it out of the oven and re-stir everything really well, then add the rest of the French's fried onions over the whole top (ok, this is basically a Fried Onion casserole. You gotta like 'em or this will do nothing for you and your grief.) Don't stir them in, just leave them on top as a crunchy top-coat.

Put the casserole back in until the top is browned and golden.

I like to serve this with chicken and biscuits. And wine. Tonight I am skipping the chicken and biscuits and going for extra servings of wine and casserole, because I am classy that way.

Thank you all again for your kindness. I was fully unprepared for how badly I would handle this event. I never realized how much of my love and affection I channeled into that animal after my divorce. He needed me, and I adored him, and that was a pretty great thing in my book. I knew he was going to pass on one day and thought I was prepared but clearly I delusional. (See: handbag.)

The other cats were also unprepared for me following them around the house and picking them up and making them swear solemnly not to ever get sick or die and they are kind of annoyed with all of that, but they like the two new cat scratchers, cat grass, new toys and the catnip which I have made sure they are enjoying pretty much all the time, except of course when I am trying to get them to put their paw prints on legal documents declaring their intended longevity.

I am so grateful to you all for sharing your heart with me and your sympathy and your stories, too. I love you for it.

Posted by laurie at 8:42 AM

July 11, 2007

Movin' on up, movin' on out...

I moved into the teensy house in Encino-Adjacent a few days before Christmas in 2004. It was during the deepest rainy season the city had experienced in a century and everything was grey, inside and out. Back in September Mr. X had said maybe this would be a temporary thing, but it had been three months since he'd walked out the door and he'd all but disappeared as the holidays encroached. When I moved into this little house I was heartbroken, disheveled and also just plain broke. I hated how small it was, filled floor-to-ceiling with the million boxes of my misspent marriage. I didn't care one way or the other about this house, I was just glad moving was over and it had a dry place outside to sit and smoke.

The boxes were stacked in huge piles in the bigger bedroom and they filled the garage, the living room, every space was overflowing with stuff. It took a long time to dig out from underneath it, but I did eventually get the clutter down to a livable amount. It still wasn't great, but by the end of 2005 you could at least walk around the place. Then I pared down to a more acceptable level, and I pared down again and again until my house began to feel spacious, all 800 square feet of it.

One day a few months ago Jennifer came over and said, "Wow. Just WOW. This looks like a whole different place!" and it was such a compliment. Things were tidy and put away. In 800 square feet I finally learned how to live large.

This little house in Encino-adjacent was my refuge for a long time, my little place to ponder and insulate and figure out my stuff. I loved smoking alone on the back patio -- I have never smoked indoors ever in my entire life -- and later after I stopped smoking I spent more time inside cleaning aggressively, trying to make it a home and not just a dumping ground. This is the place I weathered my divorce, and it's also where I had my first post-divorce kiss, had my first real houseguests in a decade, grew my first zucchini, wrote my first novel, figured out the person I have been trying to be my whole life. The cats and I were pretty comfortable here. I learned how to be alone and be fine with it, mostly.

But things change and surprised as I am to say it, now it's time to go. This place is full of ghosts and memories and I don't smoke anymore and I have only 75% of my fur-covered divorce settlement left and we need new memories and a fresh start and I found one! And we are moving there today.

I have never enjoyed moving (you spend an entire childhood moving from place to place and you get tired of moving real quicklike.) It's always been the most stressful thing EVER, I have had actual nightmares on a recurring basis about moving, packing, and never being ready enough. But this time I chose. I picked the time and place, this time I want to move, I am ready to move, and I'm excited. I need this change. I need to be in a fresh place with fresh memories to make.

Of course, moving has only been possible because I spent three years here in this little house unpacking.

My relationship with stuff is a complex one, and revising that relationship has taken a lot of work. Sometimes letting go has been so painful it almost physically hurt. When Roy died, I had to restrain myself from running out to the curb to retrieve his little tiny self-heating blanket mat out of the bin before the truck came. I sprawled on the bed and cried like an idiot as I listened to the truck empty the big cans, taking away forever that little blanket.

But that old mangled up piece of fabric which had seen a lot of washloads and a lot of fur was not my beloved cat. It was just an old blanket. Sure, he loved it. But up until he left me I never really thought of the blanket one way or the other, just washed it once a week and put it back inside his little tent and I was happy he was happy. I did not love and miss the blanket, I loved and missed Roy and I WANTED HIM BACK GIMME THAT BLANKET RIGHT NOW.

But I had to let it go. Things carry energy and memories and he only used the mat because he was frail and sick and cold a lot of the time. It reminded me every time I looked at it how hard I tried to keep him alive and still he left and I was sad. And holding onto a grubby scrap of cloth just will not bring him back.

Other times letting go has been easy. I don't care at all about saying goodbye to pants that are too big for me now or towels who have seen better days. I loved passing on to the Goodwill a pretty duvet cover and matching pillow shams that I bought when I first moved into this house. They were still pretty, but they represented my attempt to rid myself of married linens, re-take the bedroom as it were, and frankly ya'll that is a war I have long since won. Yay me! And yay to the person who finds this treat in the Goodwill store.

Last time when I moved it required a full-size grande moving truck, a team of three men and still it took NINE full hours to load and unload. NINE hours, not including breaks and driving time. And that was on the day after four of my girlfriends and all their respective vehicles had spent a whole Saturday loading and hauling stuff to the house before the movers even arrived. I look back and I am embarrassed at how much stuff I had, how much of my life I wrapped up in clutter and accumulation.

But when you know better you do better. I forgive myself. I held on because I didn't have a lot of material things growing up and it felt like comfort and security to accumulate stuff as I got older. I held on even tighter when my marriage started to fade. I shopped hoping to finally buy something that would make everyone happy. Now I know they do not sell my brand of happy at a store. I appreciate everything I have. But finally, finally, nostalgic and sentimental me has realized that in the end it's just a blanket, it's not a soul. And when stuff begins to crowd into your life, there's not a lot of room left for people and adventures. I wasn't very portable just a few years ago. I couldn't have people over very often, either, because it meant spending ten hours of prep time sorting, stacking, managing the clutter.

I used to think the solution was to buy new things to hold my clutter, so I had all kinds of cheap cubbies and cubes and plastic bins, filled and overflowing. I also used to be in debt thanks to my try-to-buy-happiness-on-sale approach. I still think it's true that you can buy things and they give you a happy feeling or make you pleased. I adore my handbag, and I use it every day. I love pretty yarn. But nothing I buy provides me with the ability to be in my own company and enjoy it. That was something that came from somewhere they don't have sales.

So, moving has been a piece of cake this time around. I boxed and labeled and disassembled everything myself in just two days and moved a lot of my assorted doodads in the Jeep. I had time to get the new place thoroughly cleaned beforehand. I know what's in the boxes and how easy it will be to unpack. I lightened my life this week, selling everything garden-related (my new place has a patio and it's a relief, I am relieved to be free of the responsibility of that giant yard). Old furniture and old computers and old stuff that had cluttered this house are gone on to new homes. The kitties will have stairs now to run and jump on, and I have sunlight and finally really pretty floors. (I loved this little old house, but not so much the hi-lo sculptured poop brown shag, circa 1978.)

The biggest surprise of all is that I am excited to leave and move on. It is just not been in my nature to enjoy change. And here I am making change happen! Crazy, I tell you what.

I guess it's because alongside the contented and good memories in this house are the sad ones, too. I am so ready for new, happy memories. I am tired of ghosts.

I'm ready for something new. And to get to wherever and whoever and whatever is new, I can't just sit here holding on tight to the past.

Posted by laurie at 1:40 PM

The Story Of Roy

roy-roy


So, I should tell ya'll the story of how Roy got his name.

Mr. X and I had been married for eight days (we eloped, in case you're interested.) And we decided that our family should include one cat, an older animal that most wouldn't want to adopt. Ya'll know how I can be ... "Is there someone over there in the corner nobody wants? He's damaged and hurt? I'll take him! Sign me up!"

Anyway, we went to this place in the mall in Woodland Hills, a rescue shelter that had animals they'd plucked from what tragedies we did not know. We walked around and found Cat, later to become Roy, stuck in a cage with half his hair falling out.

"Oh, he's a tough one," said the Rescue Lady. "Abused. Burned on the ears with cigarettes. Some of his teeth kicked out. Tough case, lives in this cage all the time..."

We took him. It was while Mr. X was signing the paperwork that the Sobakowa appeared quite by accident. Someone at the shelter handed me this little handful of matted multicolored fur and said, "No one will take this one. It's too ugly. All the others in its litter got adopted right away."

I didn't know what it was, but it was small and fit inside the palm of my hand. It was covered in food and it snuggled up under my hair and ... it kind of smelled. A little. And so ya'll know, I immediately said I WILL TAKE THIS UGLY PIECE OF FUR YOU CALL A CAT. I will love it and adore it all day long.

And that is the story of Soba, who I think is the prettiest thing ever. And she is the smallest cat but still tough as nails.

We took both of our new additions home and left them to their kittycat devices for a few hours while we shopped for toys and blankies and baskets worthy of new family members.

Soba was easy, a tiny kitten, we named her after an infomercial using the Japanese word for Buckwheat which she somewhat resembled. But Cat was harder. He'd been around, had the scars and the old-man eyes to prove it. He was incredibly skittish, hid all day, kept a wide berth around us humans and our feet. I tried different names on him but none of them fit. After a while it became a joke, then a sort-of nagging question Mr. X would ask me.

"So, what's Cat's name?" he'd ask each night when he came home.

"I don't know," I'd say. "He hasn't told me yet."

To Mr. X's credit, he did not push the issue. His crazy new wife was waiting for the cat to tell her his name. Excellent.

We were nearing the six-week mark and I had not named Cat. I had named the fridge, the sofa and all the neighbors ("motorcycle guy" "chuck wollery-esque man" "talky lady") and yet Cat was still Cat.

We returned from a long weekend in Las Vegas and Cat sat perched on the stairs watching me sort laundry. Mr. X was at work and I had the day off. "Cat," I asked him. "Tell me your name."

"Is it Luxor?"

silence.

"Grand?"

silence.

"Pirate?"

nothing.

"Sigfried?"

yawn.

"Roy?"

Hello!

And I said it again, to be sure, "Hey, you, is your name Roy?" and he perked up and trotted down from the stairs and we knew. Finally, he had told me his name.

Mr. X arrived home a few hours later. "I know his name," I said. To say I was smug would be a slight understatement. Crazy people love being vindicated, especially by nature's purest accomplice, the house pet.

"Uh. OK," he said. Probably wondering if I'd been into the cooking brandy. "So, what's his name?"

"Watch..." and I looked up at the big grey smokey lonesome of a cat sitting on the upstairs landing and I said, "Hey, Roy!"

And down he came trotting.

My husband looked at me. Looked at the cat. Shook his head and asked how I knew that was his name.

"He told me today."

So Roy and I have known each other for a long time, and we understood each other in a way nobody else could. We both had sketchy backgrounds with some unpleasant memories. We both were a little scared of people. He needed love and I had love to give. He was like me, sensitive to the smallest inflection of voice, the smallest hurts were cause for hiding. Later, when he got sick and I had to give him medicine, I would whisper to him, tell him why, explain how much I loved him, my little old man cat.

It took a long while for him to trust me, but once he did he was my cat all the way through. He followed me from room to room, laid on me as soon as I was still, waited for me each day at the door. There was a time in my marriage when I was working later and later hours, arriving home after Mr. X. One night he told me the funniest story. He said that even before the garage door opened, before you could even hear my Jeep pulling up the street, Roy would get up and stand by the door. It was like he just knew. Mr. X said he'd been watching it happen for three weeks now, and finally had decided it was the weirdest thing he'd ever seen and had to tell me. How did Roy know? Looking back, I'm so glad he told me that one tiniest of tiny details. Roy was always there, waiting for me at the door.

Roy started sleeping on my pillow, head against mine, the day my husband moved out. He'd fill up the empty space with purring and, later, snoring. All the other cats adored Roy, he was their Hemmingway, telling them how to open doors and cast longing looks at the food bowl. He loved snuggling, especially when he was so skinny and cold all the time. He loved his tent, his self-warming cozy blanket, he loved Tuna flavored Fancy Feast and most of all he loved me.

Every morning for as long as I can recall I have scooped him up into my arms, both of us still clumsy with sleep, and I would start singing in my most awful singing voice, "Even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with you honey..." and we danced around and that was our morning. That was how we woke up to each day.

I sang that same song to Roy yesterday, as he passed on, as he left my world as a cat (soon to inhabit it, again, I'm sure, as a President or as a Wise Man or maybe a piano player in a martini lounge) and he died, even as I sang him his song, and I miss him so terribly I can't even explain it to you, and to this day I still can't believe he told me his name.

I loved that damn cat. He was the love of my life.

He died peacefully. Roy was my number one guy, he came when I called him. He woke up with me each morning, reminding me we should freshen up the food dish. Reminding me to be hopeful because catnip could arrive unexpectedly in life. He was very wise.

"Even though we ain't got money
I'm so in love with you honey
Every day will bring a chain of love, looo-ooove.
And in the morning when I rise
You bring a tear of joy to my eyes
And tell me everything's gonna be all right.

It's gonna be all right."

goodbye-roy

Posted by laurie at 9:42 AM

July 10, 2007

Plotting

butt-of-sobakowa.jpg

Posted by laurie at 8:45 AM

July 9, 2007

Knitting-related insanity: The good, the bad and the downright devious!

I have not done any knitting at all since last Monday when the San Fernando Valley stopped being habitable and fit for humans and instead turned into the deathly cauldron of hotness. It's not right. Why do I live here? Why didn't I move to MooseJaw Canada back when I was half-crazy and drunk in my divorcing insomnia and thought that was a viable option? I mean aside from the fact that I love the Valley and seem to be trapped in an abusive relationship with it, why do I stay?

So once again I am just going to talk about knitting but not actually do any any!

First, the good:
Have ya'll seen these amazing "knitted" cupcakes?

knit-cupcakes.jpg

This lady not only shows off her amazing sugary goodness and artistic prowess with the marzipan, she also gives a fine tutorial on how to make your own!

- - -

Next, the bad:
I am just doing something truly evil here because you shouldn't string folks along ... don't you hate it when someone says, "I have a secret..." and then they keep you in the dark? I do! But anyway, do as I say, not as I do!

Anyway! There is a goofy knitting-related contest a' brewing here in my head. I hope you have air conditioning and a cat, that is all I have to say about that. Or a picture of a cat. Or a dog you can pretend is a cat. This will all make sense in a few weeks, when I unveil what is sure to be The Most Ridiculous Contest I Have Ever Done. Also, the only contest I have done thus far but you know ... Contests! Fun! Dorky! And HCI is kicking in for prizes so it's not like all you're winning is a zucchini from my garden. BUT IF YOU DID WANT A ZUCCHINI I CAN ACCOMMODATE THAT REQUEST.

- - -

Finally, the downright devious...
Speaking of contests, author Karin Slaughter is having a well and truly twisted contest on her website right now... and I was going to put the serial-murdering knitted items right here but instead, ya'll just see for your ownselves. She is offering the patterns free as a PDF download (free patterns!) and if you complete a project and send in a picture by August 20, you could win some knitting awesomeness in the prizes. (For those who don't knit, check out her SIT contest... the woman is a bit of a marketing mastermind. Also, she kills people in her books which I informed her via email is a strategy I am planning to work into my next novel... Drunk, On Vacation and Burying The Bodies....)


So that's it for Monday stuff. Hope your day is full of contests and cupcakes and cats and zucchini. And if you feel like sharing cupcakes, feel free to stop by my office around noontime, thanks! But don't bother bringing any zucchini. REALLY.


Posted by laurie at 9:28 AM

July 6, 2007

Houston, we have an infestation.

It started out innocently enough. Everyone but everyone knows I cannot keep any garden plants alive unless they are cactus or cactus relations, or weeds, and anyway once it reaches the fiery temperature of hell in my backyard everything up and withers away, lost dreams for yet another gardening season.

If I am being completely honest here, that is always the best part of summer. I can shrug and blame all the dry crackling leaves on Nature, and just stop pretending I am gardening and instead lay in the inflatable kiddie pool on the weekends with a cold beer and read a book and occasionally look around at what used to be the garden.

This is my plan and has been my plan every year thus far EXCEPT THIS YEAR. This year no matter what I do (or more accurately, do NOT do, such as water, fertilize or even look their way) the zucchini KEEP GROWING. They are in fact growing as I write this, morphing into huge green phallic monsters and they are knocking on the back door and saying, "Let me in, lady!" and frankly ya'll, they scare me.

I think they are staging an insurrection. I think they are plotting with the appliances and the light switches and something untoward will be happening at any moment, demands from an angry and rather enormously fat army of overgrown squash zealots.


They are in the fridge:
gadzukes-fridge.jpg


They are in the toaster oven:
gadzukes-toaster-oven.jpg


They are in my knitting bag:
gadzukes-knitbag.jpg

They are in the bathroom sink:
gadzukes-bathroom-sink.jpg


They are in the cat baskets, so Frankie has nowhere to rest her very annoyed furry self:
gadzukes-frankie.jpg


They are in the chair Roy likes to nap in:
gadzukes-roy-chair.jpg


They are also in his crinkle cave, taking over all his soft napping spots:
gadzukes-cat-cave.jpg


They are in fact surrounding Roy at all times, since everyone loves Roy, including the creepy gadzukes:
gadzukes-love-roy.jpg


They are in my sock drawer:
gadzukes-sockdrawer.jpg


They are everywhere except the treadmill, because no one wants to exercise in this heat including even the garden vegetables.

Ya'll. I am only one woman. I cannot handle this amount of vegetation. Send help. Send wine. SEND A FRY DADDY AND SOME HUSH PUPPY MIX.


Your pal,
Infested By Gadzukes

P.S. Thank you for the concern, yes the peppers are still alive! They are small and have provided no peppers thus far but are indeed alive. They are probably getting an inferiority complex from the squash.

Posted by laurie at 10:27 AM

July 5, 2007

My, how virtuous and perfect of you!

"How did you stop smoking?"

"How long have you been cigarette-free?"

"I just don't know how anyone could ever smoke, it's so disgusting."

"Thank God you finally quit smoking, that was such a horrible habit."

I feel like such a liar when I admit I did finally quit smoking. Because while I am not smoking right now currently at this time in my life, I did not "Quit Smoking" like the perfect, lovely well-behaved people of this world. I am a slovenly, hedonistic lush at heart. I have not forever quit smoking, I have merely paused smoking.

I knew I had to stop smoking a pack and a half a day because I was wheezing, and coughing, and clearing my throat all day. I also wanted to figure out some stuff, and learn about my body, and how to make it healthy and take care of it in the same way I would attend to the well-being of someone else. Ya'll know. And so I knew one of the things a person serves her loved ones is a nice homecooked meal with a good vegetable or two. I also knew I would not ever serve my kid or husband or mom a cigarette. So I had to quit.

Except. Except there was one teetiny problem.

You see, I loved smoking. I didn't think it was gross or bad and in fact I loved it more than anything before or since. You would not believe the emails I get every week, every day sometimes, telling me I am an alcoholic because I joke about wine so much on this little diary. "You must find a sponsor!" or "Once you find a 12-step group your life will improve." All the time. They never bother me, I know folks read what they are living, read into my life what they struggle with inside their own lives and I thank them for the concern. But secretly I know the truth. I know I can joke and laugh and have fun with things only when they don't trouble me at all. Folks often forget we talk openly and happily about stuff we actually have no problem with, and we hide our troubling parts. My substance of struggle has always been smoking, 12 steps and a patch and a drug were not strong enough for me. I needed another smoke.

It wasn't a physical addiction. Quitting never gave me withdrawl symptoms in my body. But my heart and mind mourned each time I quit (and there were hundreds of times, all failures.) I ached for the time alone with a cigarette, I missed it.

Smoking was my truest companion for so many years, even finer than food! I hated food. Food was THE ENEMY. But smoking never made me gain weight. In fact, it often substituted for food. I smoked when I couldn't sleep, when I was sad, when I was happy, angry, bored, scared, alone. I loved to smoke, I loved the way the air would filter up lazy and grey through the ring of haze, I loved the smell and taste, just the feel of it in my hand, the soft other-worldy place I could go to every night alone with just my thoughts and a smoke. I still love the very idea of it, and I crave a cigarette right now the way I do all day every day: not physically, but spiritually. And ya'll that is not a fine place to be when you need to quit so you can treat your body nicer.

How would I do it? I did not WANT to stop. I wanted to get healthy, but I knew myself. I knew I would not go the rest of my life without a cigarette. I knew my sad, pathetic secret addiction. The one I didn't tell people because it was so real and problematic I hid it the best I could, only acknowledging that I smoked after I vowed to quit yet again. How would I do this?

So I made a deal with myself. I, slovenly and hedonistic and frankly quite bull-headed, decided I would just pause smoking. On my 60th birthday I could wake up, have a truckful of cigarettes delivered to my doorstep and start smoking until the day I died.

Yup. That was the deal I made.

Sometimes, at first, I would want a smoke so badly that I would tinker with the date a bit, "I can smoke when I turn 59. Maybe 58. Oh, screw it, 55."

As time passed and my habits changed, I started to go back up the ladder, back to 60. Maybe when I turn 40, or 50, I'll move the date to 65. Maybe I'll move it to 59. I can't anticipate who I will be in ten years or how I'll feel about smoking. If I had to guess, I would say I'd still be in love with it. I am as we speak trying to live the most healthy, vigorous and nutritious life I can so that when I start smoking again at 60 I will be SO HEALTHY that I can live a LONG LONG time just so I can enjoy more smoking! My parents are keeling over right now reading this. Hi Dad!

I am not right, ya'll. I admit it.

But I am a non-smoker, for now. And that is what matters. I only have have 8,760 days to go. Not that I am counting or anything.

Posted by laurie at 10:31 AM

July 3, 2007

In which I interview someone I like and force her to talk about cat hair.

It is SO HOT here in Southern California, where our relative air temperature is approximately the same as the fiery surface of the blistering sun. I left for work yesterday and I had a garden. I returned home and I had crackled leaves and dry fuel for a wildfire of dessicated zucchini leaves. So, you know, this is the perfect time to talk about knitting! With YARN! Because no one should go outdoors. You all should just stay right inside with a cold drink (where I am from that is "colddrank" thanks) and crank up the air conditioning and knit your little hands off.

I am not myself actually doing any knitting, I am just talking about doing knitting. I am not crazy, ya'll. It's going to be 106 degrees at my house today!

So, knitting women with four cats (or you know, more cats than people) are a unique sorority, an ELITE squadron if you will of cool (oh, to be cool) yarn-hoarding awesomeness. This club includes one Sandi Wiseheart, former managing editor of Interweave Knits magazine. I love Interweave Knits so I was excited to talk to her because I hoped some of her expertise would sink into my brain like osmosis. Turns out my brain doesn't believe in osmosis!

Recently Sandi and the Interweave folks launched a new knitting website called KnittingDaily.com, and yesterday she and I chitchatted about cats, summer knitting, and FREE PATTERNS. Because I am all about the freeness, folks. The free and the cool.

polaroids-sandi.jpg


Me: Sandi, ok, you have four cats... I have four cats. So, from one cat-herding knitter to another I have GOT TO KNOW ... how do you keep your cats from gnawing on your needles? Bob has half-chewed almost everything he could get his grimy paws on. He will even dig needles right out of my knitting bag! The cat cannot remember his own tail is attached to his butt yet he can find knitting needles buried under four inches of purse contents!

Sandi: HRH Zoe, my 4-yr-old princess, adores size 10 bamboo dpns. I have two entire sets of those with teeth marks on them to prove her undying love. Dusty, her zen master brother, prefers my Denises. I have two chewed-to-pieces blue cables that need replacing to prove HIS undying love. Sparrow, their singing drama king bro, prefers my toes. Amber, the fifteen-year-old autistic (really) queen of the household, prefers to be alone and hiss at her potty box.

The person I really need to hide my needles from is my husband. He's a knitter, too, and I finally had to buy him his own darn sock needles so he would leave mine alone. (Love only goes so far. I also made him buy his own stash and keep it in a separate drawer. "Keep yer mitts off of the cashmere, darlin'.")


- - - -

Me: Do you sometimes hold up a fabuloso piece of knitting from your bag and you're showing it off to someone, thinking you're all badass and knitter-cool and then you suddenly notice that half the project is covered in cat hair? And then you kind of try to pretend it's mohair or something but the project is worsted weight cotton...? Or does that only happen to me?

Sandi: Why try to hide the fact that you are sensible enough to let cats rule your life? Cat hair is the ultimate in fashion accessories. As a life-long fiber fanatic, I admire the way cat hair, when blended artfully into a hand-knitted piece, and perhaps treated with just a frisson of cat spit, adds texture, sheen, and attitude to my creations. Nothing says "Yes, I Am A Knitter....And You Are...?" quite like four different colors of cat hair intertwined with one's hand-dyed merino.

- - -

Me: Heh. You're funny! Ok, so I have a lot of friends who are avid crocheters... and I know you crochet, too. I'm learning to crochet this year, it's on my Birthday Resolutions list which I studiously kept from prying eyes. In case I don't accomplish one thing on it. Anyway, do you think you might sneak some crochet into your knitting daily website?

Sandi: [insert evil laugh here] There's "some crochet" already in there. We snuck several crochet patterns into the library when no one was looking, mostly because we only have the one database right now, and we wanted the crocheters to be able to find their patterns just as easily as the knitters. Wouldn't want anyone to feel left out! However, it's Knitting Daily, not Knitting-Crocheting-And-BasketWeaving Daily, so when we talk about crochet on KD, it'll be from a knitter's perspective--what to do (besides snarl and growl) when a knitting pattern calls for a crocheted edging, how to pick up stitches with a crochet hook, alternatives for crocheted bits in a pattern, that sort of thing. Interweave isn't neglecting the crocheters--far from it. They're going to have their own community based out of the Interweave Crochet website and Kim Werker's CrochetMe projects. The crocheters rock, so they deserve to have a home of their own online. They shouldn't have to just borrow space in the back of the knitters' house.

And I am still contributing to Interweave Crochet magazine on a regular basis, because I do love crochet....staff projects, designs, columns, all the usual wacky Sandi-With-A-Hook stuff.

- - -

Me: (finally letting my true colors show) Let's talk free patterns.

Sandi: Oooooh, yes, let's. Free stuff rocks!

Me: Do folks have to buy anything or subscribe to any Interweave magazines to be able to access the free pattern library?

Sandi: I am putting my left hand on one of EZ's books as I raise my right hand and swear to you: Free is free....or it wouldn't be free, would it? No purchase necessary, do not have to be present to download, all that jazz. We do ask that you sign up to be a member of Knitting Daily in order to download the free patterns, but you do not have to buy anything or even know where your credit card is.

- - -

Me: How often will your free pattern library be updated and will it have items that some people, I am not saying any names or anything, can knit... i.e. scarf patterns or hat patterns?

Sandi: The library is being updated at least once a week. Really! Depending on what our staff resources are that week, we may add just one or two patterns, or we may add a dozen or so if someone brings us grande lattes and brownies. Right now, I've got a stack of patterns on my desk just waiting to become Knitting Daily Free Patterns when they grow up. A big stack! But it takes quite a bit of time to prepare the files and upload them, so: Patience, my kittens....patience.

As for patterns that, um, Some People Not Naming Names, can knit...about a quarter of our current patterns are rated as Easy or Beginner. Hats, scarves, bags, pillows....my mother-in-law just learned to knit so I have her to answer to if all I put in there is lace knitting on size 0000 needles or entire dresses knit out of
short rows and sock yarn. Call me motivated.

- -

Me: Do you think that intarsia is a plot by the government to make me go insane?

Sandi: Not just you, girlfriend. Several years back, the government transmitted a radio message into my brain convincing me to design and knit an intarsia Dalmation Puppy hat, sweater, and booties set for my little nephew. In chenille yarn. I woke up weeping for months afterwards, screaming "Twist the colors! Twist to avoid holes! Twiiiiiiist!" I think the darn project is still in my UFO closet, as a warning to me should I ever start thinking that maybe intarsia wouldn't be so bad after all...

- - -

Me: Now, on to more important world political and social issues. DO YOU THINK I SHOULD GET BANGS? And also, how the heck do you keep up your knitting prowess in the dead heat of summertime? Do you have certain projects you are more drawn to when it is eleventy eight million degrees outside?

Sandi: Wow. Deeply intense questions. I'll do my best to sound intelligent, witty, and wise.

On Bangs: Honestly? I am anti-bangs, in your case. I mean, what if you wanted to learn to archly lift one eyebrow, a la Mr. Spock? Bangs might obscure the effect, and thus hide your superpowers. Bangs Bad. (Of course, I am coming from a life-long anti-bang perspective. I once tried bangs, in college. I ended up looking like I had parentheses on either side of my forehead. Thus: Bangs Bad.)

On Summer Knitting: On those rare occasions when I am allowed by my cat masters to have knitting in my lap, rather than a cat in my lap, I knit with yarns like hemp, cotton, and silk. However, since I make my living knitting, and since knitting for magazines means that you are knitting things for the Winter issue in June, I'm just resigned to having a sweaty lap. OK. That sounded odd, so let's all just politely pretend that I didn't really say something that odd, that I said something much more witty instead. (Go ahead. Imagine me saying something witty. I'll wait.)

Sidebar ... This summer, I gave myself my very first Knitting Blister. I was knitting with cotton yarn (for my Tomato sweater), and using Addi Turbos, and it was eighty billion degrees, and I was trying to make a deadline....so I did not realize until the next day that I had a blister on my right hand where I was rubbing against both the yarn and the needles. I decided to put down my knitting for a bit, since the last thing I needed right then was a knitter's version of Quest For Fire with metal needles and yarn and sparks flying and stuff. After all, the cashmere was less than five feet away...

- - -

Me: Sandi, I'm glad we met and got a chance to talk about cat hair and freebies and bangs. One last question for you... if we were doing this in person, what would your beverage of choice be?

Sandi: Given that it is currently ninety billion degrees here, and given that I have to write a week's worth of articles all today....the tallest, frostiest lemonade ever. (If I didn't have to write, then it would be a giant margarita. But I gotta talk coherently about bust darts, so no margaritas allowed until after the dart action.)

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

Well, there you have it. My rusty newspaper reporter skills put to muy excellente use! I think I should go into business for myself, interviewing dignitaries and world political leaders about cat hair, beverage selection and of course... SHOULD I GET BANGS. That my friends is the age-old question that is a true divider, not a uniter.

Have a happy, hot and dessicated Tuesday!

Posted by laurie at 9:40 AM

July 2, 2007

Hello profound cats!

Some people have expressed concern that my cats will all start speaking LOLcats language. (If you are old like me and need explanation for this yet again internet-related phenomenon that is already over since everyone knows that as soon as technoancients like myself learn of a thing, it is officially Very Uncool, here is a definition.) However, as we all know, my animals speak in full sentences, write manifestos, use the internet when I am not home, host parties in their underwear while mixing martinis and smoking cigars (Roy, I'm looking at you) and they all poop as if preparing for a poop apocolypse.

roy-channels-bacon.jpg

soba-dont-lol.jpg

bobsnores.jpg

frankie-like-cheeseburger.jpg
Frankie spends all day looking at I Can Has Cheezburger. Kids these days.


In other news, I am thisclose to being done with a last round of deadlines on things and general tomfoolery and I can see a window of time stretching out somewhere in the future where I am less busy and chicken with head cut off and so on, and I am thinking that rather than spend the whole time twiddling thumbs and plotting the demise of my evil arch-enemy, I might actually attempt to catch up on correspondence and real life things. I wonder if this is even a quasi-achievable goal? We'll see. But if you get an email reply from me sometime this summer from a note you sent in the fall of 1982, don't fret. I haven't lost my mind. I am merely trying in vain to catch up on my life. If it doesn't work out we'll just make jokes about it later. If there is a later...

soba-in-blanket.jpg
Soba is not loving the last-minute photo shoot.

Posted by laurie at 8:56 AM