the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Crazy Aunt Purl Night in LA


When we got to Barnes and Noble for Laurie’s first leg of her book tour, the third floor reading area was already jammed. It was standing room only. The obsessive knitters had already taken all the seats, having camped outside to see the Beatles… I mean Crazy Aunt Purl.


It made me wonder if these women are allowed on airplanes with those knitting needles. I recognized a few bloggers, such as Ellen Bloom.

Sophia had just gotten her hair done yesterday, and was looking like a Princess.




And Princesses don’t stand, even for book readings from bloggers.

Sophia: I don’t really want to stand in the back for the entire event.

Neil: What do you want me to do?

Sophia: Find me a chair.

Neil: Well, I’m not a magician. There’s no more chairs.

Sophia sighed.

She disappeared and low and behold — returned carrying a tiny child’s bench from the children’s book section.

Neil: What did you do? Kick some child off of that bench?

Sophia: Yes. Children need to learn — adults first!

(OK, she didn’t really say that, but I imagined her saying it) And, honestly, her chutzpah is why I married her!

I took the bench from Sophia and placed it behind the last row.

Sophia: Oh no, I’m not sitting in the back. All I can see from this tiny bench is everyone’s behinds.

Sophia does not like sitting in the back of anything. She insists that we always buy the expensive orchestra seats at the theater. Before I met her, I used to sit in the last row of the balcony, which she calls the helicopter pad. She even likes to sit in the front row of comedy clubs. I usually clench my teeth for the first five minutes of every comedy act, fearful that one of the comedians will start talking to me.

Sophia lifted the bench, and carried it — to the isle next to the front row!

Laurie was terrific in her book reading. She is funny and has a real sexy Southern accent. That voice can melt any man’s heart.


A Southern shiksa goddess if there ever was one!


(more photos at Ellen’s site)

After the reading, and the Q and A, the moderator said we should get in line to get our books signed — starting in the front. She pointed first to the couple sitting in front on a tiny brightly-colored bench stolen from the children’s section. We were going to have the very first book signed by Laurie on the very first day of her tour!

So, Laurie’s book tour began. The moderator made us put a post-it on the book with my name on it, but Laurie recognized me. After we hugged, she asked me if I wanted her to write “To Hot Stuff,” in the book, remembering something I wrote on my blog two days ago. I introduced her to Sophia, and Laurie immediately seemed more interested in Sophia than me, which is usually the case.

“Sophia!” Laurie cried. “What an honor. And you’re even so much more beautiful in real life than you are in your photos.”

Laurie wrote the perfect message in my book, something about “me” and “being her” and “favorite blogger,” but it’s personal, so I’m not going to say anything.

Her book is titled Crazy Aunt Purl’s Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair: The True-Life Misadventures of a 30-Something Who Learned to Knit After He Split. It is funny and emotional book, and you don’t need to know anything about knitting to get into it. I have zero interest in knitting. Or cats. But I do like good stories.

Special thanks to Sophia for getting us up front and first. Sometimes you DO have to steal from children to get what you need.

The task accomplished, Sophia and I went out for some fried okra… I mean sushi.


  1. Not Fainthearted

    How COOL is all of that!!

  2. sizzle

    i can’t wait to go see her next week in seattle. yay!

    mmm sushi.

  3. psychomom

    What a lucky guy, two beautiful women in one night! And good for Sophia and her baby stool (wait, childs bench sounds much better).

  4. NateB

    That beautiful girl of yours is a keeper, Neil.

  5. Roadchick

    I’m so glad that you went! I can’t wait for Laurie to come to Nashville – I’ve been promising to take her for fried dill pickles for ages.

    And good for Sophia – she totally rocks.

    And so do you, Neilochka.


  6. nabbalicious

    Sophia RULES. My new heroine.

  7. plain jane

    I’m soooo jealous. Laurie looked awesome. Imagine my favorite male blogger and my favorite female blogger in the same room! Squeal.

  8. lizardek

    Sophia is awesome. As are you. Seems like where you are is the place to be. 🙂

  9. V-Grrrl

    Laurie is my hero–a Southern Grrrl done good!

  10. churlita

    Laurie seems so great. She left the nicest comment ever on my blog once.

    And Sophia? You already know how I feel about her. She. Rocks. So. Hard.

  11. wendy

    She is brave too.. getting photographed..while highlighted.

    I would have stood..I’m just not that gutsy!

    I’m glad I sat you in the seats to which you were accustomed! Imagine WHAT a faux pas that would have been…Also explains your eagle eyes..on those even Better seats. Ah, all is illuminated!

    Happy Anniversary, you too. Long may you reign!..Ok..that’s mostly too Sophia..and may you amuse…

  12. Neil

    V-grrrl —
    Well east coast girls are hip
    I really dig those styles they wear
    And the southern girls with the way they talk
    They knock me out when I’m down there

    Wendy — I would have never had the guts to switch to those better seats at Wicked before Sophia. My only regret is that I saw them before the first act, but didn’t want to take the chance. Maybe some day.

  13. steppingoverthejunk

    Awesome. it pays to live in L.A.

  14. Ellen Bloom

    Hot Stuff! It was sooo great to see you and Sophia at CAP’s event! I just love it when bloggers come out from behind their ‘puters!
    We must plan to double date for dinner the next time there is such an event!!!

    Ellen (and Larry)

  15. OMSH

    I’m thinking your wife and I? We’d be fast friends. SPUNK. I love it.

  16. tiff

    I’d be in the back, WISHING I had enough nerve to go right up front. Good on ya for getting the FIRST book signed – sometimes the planets do align, eh?

  17. Think Jacob

    Sounds like a piece of literature that a 27-year-old married father like myself could really get into…with a vengance. (If you say, “…with a vengance” after anything remotely mundane, it sounds exciting. i.e., “She’s knitting…with a vengance.”)

  18. teahouseblossom

    What a great evening it sounds like you guys had!! I’ve never been called out of a crowd and gotten a book special-ly signed by an author like that!!!

  19. helen

    Sophia looks great! 🙂

  20. Sassy

    I’m still trying to figure out how you BOTH got to the front row… Were you sitting on Sophia’s lap on that teensy bench or what?

  21. 180/360

    Sophia sounds cool!

  22. rachel

    You gotta love and adore Sophia!

  23. Paul

    Way to go Sophia! Your imaginations version of her is quite right. Children should be booted off benches and made to sit on the floor.
    And loving the hair.
    Glad you kids had a good night

  24. better safe than sorry

    the hair looks great!!!
    i’m with sophia, i always sit in the front row when possible, why hide in the back?

  25. Di

    You delicious man you!

    But what’s a ‘A Southern shiksa goddess’

  26. Paris Parfait

    Neil, I have missed you. And what was that blank voicemail message you sent me recently? Glad Sophia asserted herself and you got the first signature. 🙂

  27. catnapping

    oh god, the title alone is enough to make me wanna read that book. monday, i’m gonna go find me that book!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial