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.