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August 28, 2008

Have a nice long weekend!

Even though the long weekend is still two (long) days away, I'm taking off early from the innernets so I can devote more time to obsessing over the weather and wondering if I should buy a Sham-wow. My life, so fascinating!

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Have a great Labor Day weekend! Comments are closed.

Posted by laurie at 9:00 AM

August 26, 2008

If only we could all be followed by a halo of light...

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Posted by laurie at 7:12 AM

August 25, 2008

Trees! Water! Chocolate!

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Oh, Lake Tahoe is beautiful! Once you get there.

I'd never been to Lake Tahoe before. My mom keeps saying that I have been there ("We took you there when you were little!") but then I called my dad and he said, "I've never been to Lake Tahoe either. She must have gone there with some other guy and his little girl!" which made my mom throw a shoe at him. I heard it thud in the background. I love being a source of family harmony and togetherness.

But getting to Lake Tahoe involved me hauling myself onto an airplane that had PROPELLERS. And there was no upgrading to first class, unless first class was hidden in the cockpit and I can tell you without a doubt they were seriously not letting me in the cockpit. I could tell they had warm cookies in there, too, I could smell them. Or maybe it was phantom cookies, I do not know! What I also do not know is why on God's green earth does every single airplane trip I take seem to begin with leaving my house at four o'clock in the morning? WHY OH WHY. Vacations are supposed to be fun and not horrifying things you want to stab with your curling iron at four in the morning.

ANYWAY. So I made it to LAX at the earliest possible time that wasn't the day before and the airplane was this charade of a flying machine piloted by Rocky and Bullwinkle. With propellers. And I started having a miniature freak out (because really, how large a freak out can one muster up at the buttcrack of dawn?) thinking, "Oh crap! Is this one of the scary airplanes all those commenters mentioned where they weigh the passengers with their luggage? And if so can I claim my luggage weighs 125 pounds?" but all was well and no weighing was required. And I managed to not fall out of the plane or barf on the way or get arrested for pounding on the cockpit door and asking for an upgrade. Yay me!

Also, how awesome do you think it is to have to fly with me? On a scale of like, zero to minus zero?

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SO finally we landed in Reno, destination of said exotic airplane, and I got into my Budget Rental car and drove to... someplace not Lake Tahoe. One would think that a large body of water smack in the middle of the map would be rather more easy to find and one would be wrong, if one were me.

Now I do not think most people go on road trips the way I do. Not that you would call driving from the airport in Reno, Nevada to South Lake Tahoe (also on the Nevada side!) any road trip of real meaning. HOWEVER, I have great powers, amazing powers, powers that can turn a simple "Turn left and get on the freeway then exit at so-and-so") into hours of exploration of new territories.

Once when I was married, Mr. X and I went on a trip to Norway. I think we were on our way to Lillehammer one day, or someplace, and I was driving this leg of the trip. Mr. X fell asleep in the passenger's seat and the day was so perfect, it was snowing lightly and I was listening to the radio and thinking about living in Norway and how nice that would be and imagining myself in all sorts of coats and possibly in this fantasy I was a spy and also taller -- not important -- and that is when I noticed we seemed, after many hours, to still not be in our destination. And also, the little flag hanging outside the gas station I had just passed seemed... faintly not Norwegian. So I drove on a little further and saw another flag and tried to conjure up my eighth grade recollection of the flags of the world because that last flag had seemed really, very Not-Norwegian.

And I pulled into a little market and got out the map and a few minutes later Mr. X woke up.
"Are we there already?" he asked. Yawned.
"Hey! Guess what! I have great news!" I said.
"Uh, ok?"

Because really, what kind of great news could I have after driving in the car all morning?

"So! Don't you think IKEA is awesome?" I asked. Rhetorically.
"Uh, yeah, sure." He was confused. "We're going to Ikea?" he said.
"No! EVEN BETTER! Guess where we are! Someplace you always wanted to go!"
"Oh man," he said. "Are we in freaking SWEDEN?"

By the way, I would like to point out for the record that was only the first time I accidentally ended up in Sweden. The second time I managed to get us to Sweden, which is apparently calling to me on some magnetic visceral level, was several years after the Norway-Sweden adventure. We were in a rental car at the airport in Copenhagen where IN MY DEFENSE the signs were totally not well-marked or even in existence, and I somehow did not get on the entrance to the freeway but instead ended up in the tunnel under the ocean connecting Denmark to Malmo, Sweden. And in case you weren't sure about this, the answer is No, you cannot flip a U-turn in an under-ocean tunnel! So we drove all the way to Sweden where we promptly paid our many fancy foreign dollars for the pleasure of taking the tunnel and the man in the nice toll booth handed us a convenient pre-printed map for getting back to Denmark (which, if you think about it, only CONFIRMS my story of poor and/or missing signage) and we turned around and went back to Denmark through the tunnel. Really now.

And see, just when I think I have shared all my safe-to-tell-in-public stories with you, I up and remember the story of how I accidentally managed to visit Sweden. TWICE. That is just awesome because who knows what-all kinds of stories I may have forgotten to tell you?

So. Where was I? Oh yes, driving around Nevada.

The guy at the desk of Budget Rental Car offered to upsell me a navigational device and I know -- really, I ALREADY KNOW -- how much people love these devices and claim they are the greatest things ever invented since Tivo and Light Beer. And I truly respect and honor your love of GPS navigation systems, I do! I, however, am old school and I prefer the good ol' tried-and-true method of using a paper map and getting a little detoured and depending on the kindness of strangers and my Pilgrim spirit. Also I'm just not very good at watching TV and driving at the same time, which is what those GPS things are like for me, moth to flame.

And there is a greater precedence at stake here, because if we have read any amount of cheesy spiritual selfhelpery AT ALL, don't we know by now that it is the JOURNEY which matters and not the destination? Aren't we supposed to adventure through life? (By the way, if you need some self-helpy platitudes twisted to justify your own crazyass quirks, just let me know! I'll be here all week, be sure to tip your waitress!)

Also, if we're being honest here, I like old-fashioned road maps! I love them. I feel it is my obligation to buy road maps and road atlases (atlasii?) so they will not become extinct one of these days, like phone books and movie times in the newspaper.

In other words, no, I did not get the GPS add-on and no, I am not the least bit sorry. Because had I been listening to some computer voice say, NO NO YOU IDIOT!! TURN BACK THERE!! I would never have seen this:

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Giant weird statue!

Or this:
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There's gold in them thar hills!

Or this:
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Nature!

Ah, road trips.

My hotel room was beyond great, and I neglected to take any pictures of it. Room service was also fabulous and was what I needed to heal me and make me well and I also neglected to take pictures of that. I was too busy watching Saved By The Bell and re-toxing my body while lounging in the jacuzzi tub in my room which is also possibly the greatest invention ever, eclipsing both beer and Tivo.

I did actually leave the room at some point, where I bumped into these characters:
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Drew and Maggie! What are you doing on my vacation? What a coincidence! Actually, I think you should always pick a mini-vacation spot by calling your friends and asking them where they're going on vacation and then just show up all, "Oh my God! What a weird surprise!"


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I kept marveling at how blue the sky was in this land of "we don't have smog." Generally I prefer my air brown and crunchy because that's how I know I'm home. But there is something to be said for clean air and trees of the not-palm variety and beautiful mountains and pristine natural vistas that you can enjoy for hours and then remember peacefully from the comfort of your jacuzzi tub.

Mmmm. Jacuzzi tub.

Posted by laurie at 8:44 AM

August 21, 2008

Fall is coming and apparently it gives you great handwarmers and terrible posture

A few days ago I got a mailer from my local Bloomingdales ("The Mothership") featuring all their new DKNY stuff for fall. This little get-up caught my attention:

(Click all images below for a gigantor version)

What caught my eye isn't the fetching stance of the obviously sun-blinded-model, but what appeared to be charcoal-grey handwarmers... nice!

Then I saw this picture:

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OH MY GOD THAT POOR GIRL HAS TO WEAR ARM WARMERS BECAUSE SHE HAS THE ARMS OF A MONSTER. Also, I love how in this picture the perspective is so that her handbag is actually large enough to contain her entire body if only she would hunch down a little more. But anyway, arm-warmers! Knits for fall!

And then the poor girl got mugged by a very large woolen scarf:
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DEAR MODELING AGENCY, I HAVE GREAT POSTURE.

Oh, I love fashion. I like anything that makes pretty girls slump over and get monster claw hands and wear handknits. Also I think I will probably try making me some armwarmers like that for winter, assuming it ever will be winter again.

It will be winter again one day, won't it?

Posted by laurie at 8:26 AM

August 20, 2008

Mysteries of the deep....

Sometimes when it is dark and stormy and cold outside I like to pull out my knitting and curl up on the sofa and do nothing but drink warm beverages out of a cup that may or may not be laced with Calvados....

Wait! OH YEAH YA'LL. I live in the valley where it doesn't rain. Ever! Our new teammate here at Big Corporation, Inc. who as you will recall is from New Jersey (so I call him New Joisey, which for whatever reason doesn't amuse him but if we were below the Mason Dixon it would SO get laughs) (ANYWAY) poor New Jersey came in to work the other day and declared that he had not seen one drop of rain since he'd moved to this godforsaken city.

"Doesn't it ever rain here?" he asked.
"No," I said. "Until it does rain and then...."
"... and then what?" he asked.
"Uh, have you ever been to someplace where it never snows when it accidentally snows? And so people can't drive in it but try to anyway?"
"No," he said.
"Oh! I think my phone is ringing!"

And so I still haven't told him what happens here when it rains.

BUT IF IT DID ever get dark and stormy and below 85 degrees, I would probably dork out and watch a Tivo'd show off the History channel called ROGUE WAVES!!!!! Because that is exactly what I did the other night when I couldn't sleep and it was dark but not stormy and definitely not cold.

I sat right there and got my nerd on with the History Channel. And learned all about ROGUE WAVES!!!! Apparently for hundreds of years seamen (heh) would tell tall tales of bigass rogue waves hitting boats and coming from nowhere and yet nobody believed them. In fact, there was a whole period of time when ship captains were afraid to say they'd taken a rogue wave because people would think they were drunk. (Also, for the record, from now on if I have had too much to drink I am going to tell people I have taken on a rogue wave.)

But in time, as people evolved and got fancier and so on, mathematicians made whole gigantor math calculations and equations and quadrilaterals and biceps (can you tell who painted her nails with scented glitter polish during Algebra I?) and these mathematicians declared that rogue waves -- any wave of tremendous height of 100 feet or so -- could only occur once in every 10,000 years. Once in every 10,000 years! So they concluded that rogue waves do not really exist and seafarers were full of seacrap.

Then fast forward to the 1980s or maybe 1990s (all right, fine, I wasn't exactly taking notes) and a huge old wave hits an oil drilling platform in some cold northern sea and it was recorded by sonar or radar or somedar. The first measured rogue wave! And eventually satellites began to map the wave patterns of the earth's oceans and by now scientists seem to agree that rogue waves not only exist, they are way more frequent than scientists apparently ever dreamed in their wildest, wettest, roguest dreams.

Now that is something else. I love that science can 100% unequivocally say that a thing doesn't exist (or occurs once in every 10,000 years) and then one day that science is just debunked and all the math was wrong, wrong wrong and two cruiseships are hit by rogue waves in a 12-hour period. Because it means that A) I have yet another reason for saying I will never go on a cruise and B) there is still so much we don't know and any old thing could happen. In a good way! Like your diagnosis could be wrong or you could just magically spontaneously heal or you could experience something people think doesn't exist or money could actually grow on trees. Magic!

But the reason I feel compelled to share with you every gory and probably mistranslated detail of this really nerdy programming I enjoy is that They ("The U.S. Department of They") believe some of the mysterious disappearances of ships in the Bermuda Triangle might be attributed to rogue waves. Which reminded me ... OH YEAH! How come nobody ever talks about the Bermuda Triangle anymore?

When I was a kid the Bermuda Triangle was the it-girl of its day. It was the spooky, scary mysterious phenomenon that everyone talked about and there were movies about it and it was a really big deal! When the heck did the Bermuda Triangle go out of style? Was it right around the time we stopped wearing parachute pants and spending hours contouring our blusher? How did this go quietly into the night without my mourning its passing?

Also, wow. I really used to be all about the contouring blush. Three colors of blush to make your face look extra pink and ridiculous!

So, that is all I have to share today. I believe I have reached my nerdy maximum sharing limit for the day and will retreat back to my corner. My corner which is definitely NOT in the Bermuda Triangle and definitely not experiencing rain!

And also, sadly bereft of contouring blush in three magical, delicious shades of pink.

Posted by laurie at 8:42 AM

August 19, 2008

Well, I declare!

This last half of August (which apparently began a week ago, in my mind) has turned out to be far busier than I expected. All sorts of exciting things have happened, like when the metal doodad holding down the thingamajig connecting the canvas top to my Jeep came undone ON THE FREEWAY so the top started peeling back as I was driving at nearly top speeds at 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday on my way to a weekend seminar. AWESOME!!! But I guess I had more commitment to the seminar than I expected because I freaked out only for a second then exited the freeway without hitting anyone (very good) and drove the rest of the way on side streets holding the canvas top that was flapping up with my bare hands. I arrived late and exhausted and dirty but I arrived, dammit!

Re: Dammit
Someone wrote me an email saying they couldn't like my book because of the "potty mouth bits" and to that I say, you should have met me before I had any readers, or before my parents got the website address and way before I got an editor! I was hellfire and trucker lips! Yummy!

Also:
I may stop reading email. Or perhaps I'll find someone to screen them all for me and just send me just the good ones. Actually that is a fabulous idea! Maybe my email screener can be named Raoul and wear little red bikini pants and bring me drinks with umbrellas in them! Oh, and read email too sometimes. Dammit.

SO. The seminar I attended on Saturday finished on Sunday and my whole weekend was spent on learnin' stuff. The Jeep problem was "solved" after Saturday's full-day seminar. I just used my time in the venue's parking garage wisely, while everyone else lined up to exit I removed the canvas that shaded me from the sun (sigh) and got out my handy duct tape to keep the metal doodad from flapping off. I have learned it is best to carry duct tape in the Jeep at all times as my car frequently likes to eject its parts when it gets tired of holding on to them.

There was no time to get it properly fixed on Sunday as I had MORE learnin' to do! There was this one guy I saw on Sunday sitting a few rows ahead of me and he was wearing shoes I couldn't get a picture of without being obviously, you know, weird and creepy ... but they were these suede saddle shoes we were all OBSESSED with my first year of college. Everyone and their brother (boys and girls alike!) wore these and we called them bucks. I do not know why. We wore those shoes with our Duckhead cut-offs and these striped Rugby shirts that were all the rage and our weird surferdude hair. Basically, for an entire year of college me and everyone I knew dressed like a gay preppy boy who'd been attacked by the L.L. Bean catalog. But when I saw that guy's shoes at the seminar I just melted a little on the inside because even though we may have been dorks we thought we were cool, and it made me feel all nostalgic and forgetty about my car problems.

The most traumatic thing that happened to me occurred yesterday morning when I woke up with the following song lyrics STUCK in my head:
Oh-kay, here's the situation! My parents went away on a week's vacation!

Not just those two lines, but the whole entire song. Now let's look at this objectively for a moment. I cannot remember my own cellphone number half the time, I forget birthdays, I have to park in the same place everyday or I can't find my car. Yet I know ALL THE LYRICS to "Parents Just Don't Understand," a song which has not been popular for two decades!! My brain cells are mutinous, 80s-loving nostalgic little creatures who really just want more wine and less stimulation. Bastards!!

Finally, here is my beauty supermodel Frankie:

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She looked deep in thought, so I said, Hey Frankie! Why are you so pensive and ponder-y? And she said, First of all ponder-y is not a word. But since you asked, I am thinking about Frank.

Frank is a knitting buddy who makes amazing cakes and has a cute kid named Oliver and Frank has been in and out of the hospital a lot lately and is going through chemo and I guess Frankie was thinking about Frank. So if you get a chance today and want to leave happy cheerful getwellnessisms to Frank, this is his webpage. And I believe even the most delicate ears among us will agree or at least manage to look the other way when I proclaim loudly: SCREW CANCER!

Posted by laurie at 7:46 AM

August 15, 2008

The edible lawn...?

A few weeks ago I found an article online about people turning the front lawns into gardens. The article is here on Time Magazine's website. Then I read an opinion article a few days ago on the New York Times website about urban agriculture. You can read that one here.

I would LOVE to get rid of my front lawn and have a big old garden out there instead! My landlord did not love this idea one bit, though, and informed me about all the hard work and time and effort and money the gardeners have put into getting the lawn in good shape, etc. etc. blah blah blah. I won't let the gardeners put any chemicals in my yard which drives them crazy and of course the landlord gave me an earful about that, too. So I doubt he'd be receptive to zucchini on the front lawn.

And of course even if he were open to the idea (which he is not, at all, the end!) truth is I don't have time to maintain an edible lawn right now anyway. I don't have time to maintain my own (somewhat astonishing) leg-hair weeding and fertilizing and mowing. Commuting is a tough taskmaster!

But one day when I live somewhere with a less lawn-crazed landlord OR when I own a house AND THEN when I have time to breathe (someday, always someday, the sun will come out tomorrow, I will worry about that tomorrow, etc. etc. lorem ipsum dolar...) I think I will plant a big garden out front. Makes so much more sense than some grass of suspect pedigree and all the watering and care you have to do just to have ... plain old grass. I'd much rather have a yard of thyme and basil or a yard full of avocado trees.

Would you replace a lawn with a veggie garden? How about your front lawn? I have a friend who started a garden out back but his wife thought it was a redneck thing to do and she was embarrassed by it. Until he shared that with me it never occurred to me that a garden was anything but a natural work of art, I guess everyone has a different take on things.

And my own garden in the backyard is doing just so-so this year, I don't have any free time right now and it's been a HOT summer and someone at my house is dead lazy about watering on any regular or meaningful schedule. My one lone pumpkin seems to be doing well enough, though. It long ago breached the walls of the raised-bed garden and has taken over most of the entire Back 40 and now its lone fruit rests happily in the weeds of the back-backyard:

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But I will not lie to you -- up close it is THE UGLIEST PUMPKIN I HAVE EVER SEEN!! It is lumpy and misshapen and bulgy in all the wrong places and of course this makes me love it even more! I love my ugly lumpy pumkin that is not even orange! I call it my Charlie Brown Yellowbellied Lumpkin. I hope it grows up to be a magnificent huge size and astonishes all who gaze upon its lumpy misshapen pumpkinness. And I do hope it one day turns orange, really now.

My zukes this year are kind of scrawny and sad. It's just the pervasive heat, I guess, either that or the pumpkin sucked all the life out of the dirt which I kind of hope happened, Darwinism in the dirt! On the other side of the yard my peppers have made a comeback, apparently they need water to live (WHO KNEW) and since they are my dad's little heirlooms I treat them to a little drink now and then:

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Even the little sprig I stuck in a pot is doing well and has peppers on it:
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Ignore the brown sad plant to its left. We're very selective around here what with our midnight watering and all.

Gardening probably takes way more time and care than I have to devote to it, apparently it goes on my "one day..." list. Boy that list gets long sometimes. Dear Someday, please arrive NOW. Thanks! However, I DO take the time to feed and water the cats regularly so they will be big and strong and cute...

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Blurry, yes. But cute!

Have a great weekend, lumps and all!

Posted by laurie at 8:28 AM

August 14, 2008

Horrifying

This morning I saw an article on SmarterTravel.com (one of my favorite travel websites) with a roundup of their reader responses to the question of whether or not an airline should charge heavy customers more for a seat.

Some of the comments were just unbelievable, so nasty.

"Make these people stand on the luggage scale, maybe a little humiliation will be incentive to start doing something about it."

Do cruel and self-righteous always go hand-in-hand? Isn't there ever a way to find solutions without being so mean and devoid of simple human compassion?

Even though I know from experience that comments are almost always a reflection of the person making the remark (and not a reflection of me, or you, or the subject matter) it's still disconcerting and sad and makes me ashamed for the state of us all. And even though I know people feel this way about heavy folks, and anyone not like them (color, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status, fashion choices, whatever) it's still weird to hear it, see it in print.

Posted by laurie at 9:13 AM

August 13, 2008

Lists and Happiness, a deligtful combination. Now with 100% more cat hair!

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Lists are the stuff of life, my life anyway. I have lists on everything -- the discarded pages from my page-a-day calendar find their way into my bag when I scribble on the backside of a long-past day, a to-do list, a grocery list, ideas for something. Then there are post-it notes everywhere with my scribble, they're even stuck inside the pages of my spiral notebook which itself holds lists. There is a smaller notebook, too, yellow and fuzzy and it fits better in my handbag and was purchased specifically for holding my many lists and pen scratches.

Months ago my friend Courtney told me she was trying a new goal-setting list that's moving around the internet. It's called 101 Things To Do in 1001 Days, and was started on the website linked to the list. There's also a nice feature (handy for all sorts of things) that calculates your start date and end date if you plug in the days, scroll down this page and you'll find it. On that website you can get started on your own list and browse through the "101 Things" lists made by other folks, too. Sometimes browsing through the goals set by other people can be really inspiring -- or exhausting, depending on where you fall in the "harried and overworked" spectrum.

I love lists, I make them all the time for all sorts of things. I have New Year's Lists and Birthday Lists (my birthday is almost exactly halfway through a calendar year, so that works for me as a check-in on my year's goals) and above all this, I have my 100 Things To Do Before I Die list. I didn't think I would make up a 101 Things in 1001 Days list since my own personal system works fine for me.

Then a few days ago I was talking with Courtney and she mentioned the list again and I thought maybe I would just do it as an exercise. It took me a surprisingly long time to come up with a solid list of real, measurable tangible to-do's that fit my criteria -- I didn't include work-related tasks, and I kept my 101 Things to very specific, quantifiable items (instead of "become more physically fit" I have "Using the hand-held weights I already own which are currently holding down the coat closet floor in dust and darkness, lift weights while watching The Daily Show a few times a week.") But aside from that one (and maybe one other) there weren't many daily or logistical tasks on my list -- I already take vitamins, I already have a schedule that contains most of my obligations. What I needed was a little happy-goal list, not stuff I have to do but things I'd like to do/have/try so that I'm living, not just tasking.

Making this list was a good activity for me. I think all of us reach little plateaus in our lives where we're just listless, or restless, or uninspired, or exhausted maybe. All of the above? And it never hurts to just take some time out alone to make a list, a good list, one that refocuses your attention and makes your life feel more like a car you're driving (with a roadmap!) instead of feeling like you're an unwilling and lost passenger on a chicken bus dangling over the edge of a precipice.

Or hey, maybe that's just me.

Different things work for different people. (Also, "Me: Master of the obvious.") What works for me won't always work for you and what works for many people makes my head hurt. Even identical twins have differences and personality quirks (I know this from dating someone who was an identical twin and then meeting his brother. YIKES ALMIGHTY. Behold! Tell your twin about the healing powers of a bath!) But even though I logically know we're all different folks with different strokes (and bathing habits), I tried for a long time to be someone I wasn't because I thought I needed to be like other people. For example, I now know I can't multi-task but I spent years -- YEARS!!! -- trying to convince myself I could become a multi-tasker if only I had the right day planner or email system or gadget or whathaveyou. It did not work. I am not a multi-tasking individual. I am a single-focuser, with excellent attention to one thing at a time. I sure wish I could get my money back from all that crap I bought to help me multi-task, I could be single-tasking on a beach with that cash!

And I have finally learned and accepted that I am not an extrovert. I mistakenly believed for most of my life that I needed to get an A in comportment, play well with others, always smile and act nice and be sociable (even when I really want to be alone in bed with a good book). This display of attempted social gymnastics is exhausting for just about anyone but particularly lethal for an introvert. A couple of years ago -- before I understood what an introvert really was -- I found myself fielding a lot of "You should get out more..." comments from folks (always people and their well-meaning advice!). I acknowledged my my tendency to spend time alone and I made a concerted effort to get out more. I put it in my lists -- attend stuff! Do things! Go places where others congregate!

Through that experience I learned definitively that I am not a socially extroverted person. I also learned that I can hide in all sorts of ladies' rooms for very long periods of time and make rather fabulous origami toilet paper creations. I also learned that I sweat when I am nervous, I say weird things that make strangers think I need intensive in-patient therapy and I spill drinks. THAT IS SO AWESOME. A few weeks after my toilet paper origami ordeal, I read that a true introvert is usually defined as someone who gets their energy from being alone. Extroverts, on the other hand, commonly get their well of energy refueled from being around other people. NOW THAT MAKES SENSE. It is safe to exit the ladies room and go home and paint my toes in peace -- I'm an introvert! I am refueling my well of energy!

Still, I'm not sure I would ever figure anything out if it weren't for a list or a goal or a to-do item, even the ones that seem like failures get me somewhere. I now know I'm someone who can go on vacation alone and LOVE it, because I put it on a list one day and tried it. I know I really do not enjoy sushi and can cross that right off any future to-do lists forever. But (from the same bullet point) I discovered I adore well-made tempura, especially when they do whole vegetables like string beans and asparagus. And thanks to a list item of yore, I am VERY certain that I won't be getting that part of my body hotwaxed again, thankyouverymuch.

My new 101 Things list is still only partially done, I'm at #71 (though I have to admit most of my items are more short-term than 2.75 years, most are things I hope to cross off in a year's time or less.) It's been good to get my brain out of chicken-bus-passenger mode and into driver's seat mode. It was relaxing to take some time out and just be silent and make a long list of stuff: goals, things I want, things I hope for, things I would like. Places I may want to go, stuff I want to do or see or watch. Yarn I'd like to try, practicing my French, next year's vacation destinations.

And I do enjoy a good list! I hope you'll share some of your 101 Things, if you do decide to make it a goal of yours. I shared some of my 100 Things To Do Before I Die, but most of that list is private. I plan to update it this year, too, since some of my to-do's have changed, some have been crossed off and some just don't appeal to me anymore.

Lists. Is there anything more hopeful than a list? (Except maybe a cat?)

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Posted by laurie at 9:21 AM

August 12, 2008

Little bits of knit

My September 2008 issue of Vanity Fair arrived, Carla Bruni is the cover model and there's an interesting story on her inside, you know a woman who'd posed nude and dated rockstars would never be accepted (or even considered) as First Lady here. Some of the pictures made me miss Paris.

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If you subscribe there's also the Fashion Rocks extra:

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On the very last page of that supplement there's agreat photo of a girl in mid-jump wearing these fabulous heels and what appear to be hand-knit tights and an amazing knit dress:


(click this image for a VERY big close-up)

I think that is a gorgeous dress! The details say this is a Rodarte dress and tights and there are a few other Rodarte pieces sprinkled throughout the Fashion Rocks pages. The label's website is one of those clunky flash things meant to be cool but just kind of hard to navigate -- but if you click on "photos" on the left, then click on "looks" you can hunt around to find that great knit dress and some other fabulous knit pieces, they're so beautiful! Like artwork. (There is also a good image gallery of the ready-to-wear collection here on Style.com.) This whole look reminds me of that great '80s punk stuff but really glamorous and pretty, a contradiction in terms I know. Their knit jackets are a loose, open weave with wild combinations of yarns (love that) and none of the shapes look too hard to make so you might get some inspiration there, too. (Also I remember Annie had a pattern for handknit tights in her Romantic Hand Knits book, nothing fishnetty, but still.)

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Frankie thinks she's ready for Vanity Fair!


Posted by laurie at 8:43 AM

August 11, 2008

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start....

Nothing to say on this Monday morning. There is something happening inside the ziploc, but it might be a mad mess:

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And this was on TV, in case you have the urge to quit your job and run off and study something new ... try bunions!

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Mondays.

Posted by laurie at 8:55 AM

August 8, 2008

Winner & have a good weekend

Later, it occurred to me that perhaps "hey-to" is one of my made up-isms and so it might only be southern by proxy. I am not sure what it means when I can't tell real words from my own made-up words. Perhaps it means I should go into the dictionary-writing business!

Congrats to reader Annie, lucky comment number 230, who won the Karin Slaughter books. They're both awesome books, I know you will enjoy them! Have a great weekend everyone and hey-to your mama. Word. Peace out, etc.

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Posted by laurie at 4:45 PM

Karin Slaughter, nice Georgia girl. (Plus win two signed books!)

There are three things you may or may not know about Karin Slaughter:

1) She is almost as short as I am. (Not nearly as wide.)

2) She is very kind, and back when I was trying to figure out things such as "Do you tip your author escort on tour?" (Answer: No, but a nice thank you is always appreciated...) and "Why is this not glamorous at all and in fact is the antithesis of glamorous?" (Answer: "Until you've had a nervous breakdown while on tour and had to be checked into a facility, it's still considered good publicity. Maybe even after the breakdown, depending on the book...") and anyway she let me ask her all kinds of silly and harebrained and wine-fueled questions and she was very gracious with her help and advice.

3) She has very sensitive skin, which I know not because I slobbered on her but because I offered to send her the only thing that kept me sane(ish) while traveling: Olay Daily Facials. Manna from Heaven! But I bought her the unscented variety because of the aforementioned delicateness. Being Southern myself I understand this, and her being Southern, too, it was nice of her not to think I was stalking her, or at least say so out loud. To me. Because we are both Southern and have so much in common!

Though I have been told if I come within 50 miles of someplace in Georgia the law will arrest me, etc. Something about an order of restraining? I never lived in Georgia so I don't know much about their quaint ways of welcoming you. In Louisiana we had a crawfish boil and in Texas you barbecued something big but apparently in the fabled land of Georgia they call they law. I have heard this also happened to Bobby Brown. That was his prerogative!

Anyway! Now you know all about Karin Slaughter. I should totally be her biographer or something with my thoroughness, especially since most of those details were about me. Not important! What is important is that I have not ONE but TWO awesome books signed by the woman who is almost as short as me, and very nice, and has strangers sending her facial products:

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That's a hardback signed copy of Fractured, her newest book plus a hardbound version of Martin, Misunderstood -- that book is currently only available in print in the UK, though the audiobook version is available to the rest of us folks. Post a hey-to in the comments and I'll pick a winner late today. Have a great Friday!! ("Hey-to" means hello, greeting, name or whathaveyou. I am translating for those who are not country.) (Really now.)

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I almost look taller here, also WOW I am a great photographer or what?

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Thanks everyone, comments/giveaway closed!

Posted by laurie at 10:30 AM

August 7, 2008

Shakespeare's Cat

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Posted by laurie at 10:56 AM

August 5, 2008

Finishing up loose ends

Over the weekend I unearthed some of my unfinished projects, I don't feel any great rush to finish any of them since we still have at least three more months of hot summer left, but maybe I will need to run off to Greenland sometime soon and then I would have use for a nice scarf. Because of course I don't already have any scarves at all. (ahem)

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"Mistake" Rib Stitch Scarf
• Cast on stitches in multiples of four, plus three extra stitches. For this scarf, I cast on 31 stitches using Noro Blossom, a yarn which I love so of course it's been discontinued.

• Knit two, purl two all the way across the row. Purl the last stitch of each row. Another variation of this pattern found here.


I like this pattern, it's perfect for this yarn. Also goes well with morning tea!

Posted by laurie at 8:30 AM

August 1, 2008

So NOW it is finally August first!

Really. Took you long enough to get here, August. Nice seeing you, fresh clean month.

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Everyone loves the smell of freshly laundered months. And sheets.

Posted by laurie at 8:26 AM