Get as much as you need.

I go to the store almost every day. I’ve adapted to this, it’s a peril and a perk of city living. Back when I lived in a suburb of Toronto I did one major shop a week, along with popping out for a refill of milk, bread and veggies in between. Now that I live right in the city I’ve got a whole other thing going on. The bakery, grocery store, fruit and vegetable store….they are all minutes away from my door and I pop out for what I need as I go along. The perks are that I don’t have to be organized enough to commit to a plan early in the week and that everything we eat is lovely and fresh, and the peril is the loss of efficiency in shopping for 30 minutes a day. Downside, we rarely have enough in the house to pull a meal together without walking out. (The romance of popping into the bakery each day is largely evaporated by rain or snow.) Upside, my lettuce is never wilty and we eat warm bread.

This jaunt in and out also lets me say Hi to my neighbours, get a little air and forces me to fight my perennial urge to sit in my house all the time knitting and writing. (I would make an excellent hermit.) Since I walk by all of the homes near me on an almost daily basis, I knew that the house on my street next to the alley I take to the grocery store had new occupants. My natural curiosity has had me trying to check them out for a while. All I’ve been able to divine is that he/she/ they are likely a household of one or two people, since their green bin is almost always empty and they have only one small bag of rubbish. They don’t subscribe to a paper, and they put up new blinds. They also fixed the siding where that car hit it. So far, he/she/they seem like nice neighbours. I considered taking them “welcome to the neighbourhood” cookies or something.

Last night as I was walking past their front door to go to the shop and get greens, black beans and some yellow peppers I think I met them…or her. Or possibly a friend that they shouldn’t invite back.

As I passed by their door (the doors in this neighbourhood sit only about two metres from the sidewalk) the door exploded open and this woman came out. Well, came out may be a bit of a misleading statement. Sauntered. Maybe Sauntering with a smidge of stomping…it’s hard to say, but the woman was definitely moving with a great deal of aggression and assertiveness. Her chin was up, her shoulders were back, her arms pumped back and forth with each step. She stormed the six or seven strides to the sidewalk, ending up right in front of me, looked me straight in the eye, slapped her hands on her hips and screamed “What are you looking at?”

I was stunned. What I was looking at was a woman of ample curve, perhaps a hard living 50 years old, about my height (5′) or perhaps a little taller. She was one of those women who’s age is hard to figure. Her hair was yellowy bleach blonde, her dark brown roots were perhaps an inch or two long and she had a leathery face that looks like it’s been outside a whole lot and not washed much. She had sort of skinny legs and a small “upstairs”, a double chin and a very big belly. If she had been a younger woman I would have suspected for a moment that she was pregnant. Her skin was sallow and loose and she didn’t look well at all. Her panties were…..

Sorry did I neglect to mention that? This woman, our new neighbour or an associate of my neighbour had stomped out of her home (or the home of her friend) onto my busy metro street aggressive and unwashed in the chill November air of Toronto wearing only the skankiest of used-to-be pink panties and a completely done in bra to go with.

I was stunned. Stunned enough that I was actually unable to fully answer the “What are you looking at?” question that she had posed to me by evening light on the sidewalk…Stunned enough by this sudden public almost-nudity that I stammered for a minute…helplessly trying to both avert my eyes and sum up the situation, searching for a position that was both polite and….well. Frankly got me the hell out of there. As I stood there with my mouth open, trying desperately not to look at her victim-of gravity bra and wondering what the protocol on this one was, the woman looked me up and down, gave me a sneer exactly like I was the near-naked woman on the sidewalk and yelled “Get a good look Honey….Get as much as you need!”

…and with that she was gone. Not back into the house, which was where I would have gone as directly as possible, were I she…but down the street, boldly and brashly and straight as an arrow. Completely purposeful. She had gold shoes.

I continued to the store then (sort of crooked and shaky-like) got my groceries and came walking tentatively back about 15 minutes later…approaching her house with trepidation and extreme caution, this time with a plan in place. If she was still there (and still lacking the appropriate clothing) then this time I could bolt for my door. I rounded the corner and looked.

Standing at her front door was a clean cut young man with a clipboard, behind him another guy with a huge video camera mounted on his shoulder. They were knocking on the door, looking for all the world like they had arrived to interview her.

I bustled past the camera man, glancing at the door as I went by and saw through the un-curtained windows that she was coming (still not well clad) to answer their knock.

I went home and I wondered. Was it news? Was it an indie film? Was it art? What the hell was going on four doors down? I pondered these things as I started dinner and I realized I only knew two things for sure.

I need to go to the store less often… and a tray of “welcome to the neighbourhood” cookies is right out.

299 thoughts on “Get as much as you need.

  1. Oh my God! I’m first! That is, if my fit of laughing and then choking on my coffee hasn’t bumped me down to what….1150th?
    I am coming to Toronto and I’m bringing a camera. I’m going to park myself somewhere likely and I’m going watch for nutjobs. You guys have better ones than I do, that’s for sure.
    How’s the socks?

  2. I’m not sure where to begin on this one. Hopefully, this creature won’t be there long. Can you go another way to the store?

  3. I think you should always be armed with short pointy sticks when walking around your neighborhood. And be ready to run! Glad you’re okay.

  4. Perhaps directions to the nearest Sallie Ann to get some clothes? Forget new undies, just cover her up! Glad I don’t have that kind of excitement. You do have adventures, don’t you?!

  5. And here I thought you were going to say that your neighbor was a knitter. You could always offer to teach her to knit. Perhaps then she could knit herself a nice sweater to cover up that victim-of-gravity bra.
    On the other hand, naw. She doesn’t appear to be the knitting type. lol!

  6. Now come along, Stephanie, this was clearly a last desperate cry from this neighbourly woman who wanted so much to become part of your knitting group. Heck, she even demonstrated how much she want (needs?) to join the Sweater Knitalong. It is your plain duty to go right back round there (OK, OK, wear the bulletproof jacket) and hand over some nice fleecy pink yarn and a pair of blunt-ended needles.
    You know she could give a whole new meaning to Stitch N’Bitch sessions…
    Celtic Memory Yarns

  7. Perhaps a new route to the store is in order. Then again, maybe carrying a bucket of large sharp pointy metal needles would do the trick.

  8. Sounds like one of the panhandlers in the gauntlet that I have to run while going to and from work every day — in DETROIT.

  9. oh my word! I am laughing so hard I can’t see straight! Ok sorry to laugh at your uncomfortable situation, had it been me I would have stood there stammering as well. Instead of the welcome to the neighborhood goodies….make her a welcome to the neighborhood shawl to match the gold shoes? πŸ˜€ Just trying to help!

  10. Holy cow!
    This is why one never leaves home without nice sharp knitting needles!! You never know when you’ll have to defend yourself from frightening old ladies in frightening old undies!
    Of course now we *must* know what that camera thing was all about!

  11. Huh. sounds suspiciously like one of my old neighbors. When I wished to myself they would move, I had no idea I’d inflicted her upon you. I’m really sorry. On the other hand think of it as viewing Galveston Island from the comfort of your own city. *grin*

  12. Well! That certainly gives new meaning to “meet the neighbors” now doesn’t it!?! LOL The world takes all kinds, remember. I’m guessing you won’t typically travel in the same social circles, so don’t worry too much about her, Steph.

  13. Never thought you’d be wishing for this warm spell to end, did you! Nothing like the windchill factor to discourage nakedness (or near-nakedness).

  14. aww….that sounds like a fun cherish-able moment. Next time you meet her, you should say that she needs new a panty and bra. πŸ™‚

  15. Ok Second comment…though I think the situation is funny and I would probably have reacted the same way…having grown up in NYC has made me a bit jaded because I do not see this woman as being dangerous or unusual…nutty as a holiday fruit case….but unusual or scary? nope…

  16. Okay, I walk around my house every not and again a little less clothed then normal but not for all the yarn in the world would I walk out of my house practically NAKED! What was she thinking?
    I think you need to pack some mase (is that how you spell it?) in case you run into her again.
    As for the cookies…definately out! You should go get her a robe at Goodwill and give it to her πŸ™‚

  17. Yes, a welcome bathrobe is definitely in order. I can only hope this isn’t a regular event in the neighborhood….

  18. ummm, I think a “welcome to the Neighbourhood” straitjacket may be more fitting.
    Did she at least have a cigarette dangling from over-lipsticked lips?

  19. Hah! I’m remembering an adventure where a certain person who writes this blog ended up outside her hotel room wearing a very similar outfit (much cleaner, and prettier, and less worse for wear though – I’m sure!)
    Wonder if it was her way of dealing with a similar situation? But the camera crews? And the gold shoes? Hmmmm, smells like a mystery to me shaggy…
    At least it provided a good dose of blog fodder – and could potentially provide the excuse for more exercise (going all the the way round the block to get to the grocery store to avoid the crazy lady might be an option?) But then again… what’s really crazy?

  20. Man, I obviously need to get out more! See, living in the city is exciting. Here in the suburbs we just have chattering squirrels and postal delivery peole who arrive on time and things like that…

  21. that is just amazing. just plain flabbergasting.
    me thinks a new route to the store is in order. and you MUST find out what those camera people were there for! WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?!!!
    please tell us if you see her on the evening news! or late night news?

  22. I think that you handled the situation beautifully, I think that I too would have been dumb founded and found it hard not too stare. The gold shoes were really the funniest part. I hope that there are more adventures to follow. cecilia

  23. Take the cookies, take them, pleeeeez. I want to hear if she has a gold purse to match the shoes.

  24. Get as much as you need? The hell? I’d have probably popped off with something like, “Er, I really try to go for fresh and organic whenever possible, and frankly, the merchandise is looking a little…off. Perhaps an expiry date check is in order?”

  25. Well, um, you certainly have interesting neighbors. I have no idea what else to say. Maybe you could knit her a knitty bra??

  26. Interesting.
    Perhaps some “Welcome to the ‘hood Vodka” is in order, in place of the tin of cookies.. That would win me over.
    I wonder if they are filming the new season of “The Real world” there…. or something.

  27. I’ve got some seriously good crazy neighbor stories, but this one tops all of them! You might want to double check your locks with that living in the neighborhood.

  28. It’s a pretty safe bet she doesn’t read your blog. But if she did?
    Woo-hoo, look out, Stephanie! You’ve already told her where you live πŸ™‚
    Bet she thought she’d never get this much “exposure” – even with a camera crew…
    Maybe you could introduce her to Joan McGowan-Michaels’ “White Lies Designs”?

  29. Do y’all celebrate Mardi Gras early in Toronto?
    Or maybe she was fixing to practice her “show me your tits” response to use in New Orleans next year.

  30. I have to wonder if Canadians naturally attract wackos. My husband (the transplanted Newfie) has the most off-the-wall things happen to him all the time. Like the time, shortly after we moved to our apartment last year, that he went outside to take out the trash. A woman ran up to him, screaming that she needed to use our restroom. She’d had an accident of the feminine sort, and needed to deal with it. Thankfully, he didn’t let the crazy lady in, but I did have him give her a little something to help matters.
    I wouldn’t believe half the stories he tells if I weren’t there to witness them.

  31. Maybe a “Welcome To The Neighborhood Sweater” is more appropriate. You could use craft store acrylic as I’m sure she wouldn’t notice what with the sketchy underthings & all.

  32. I’m with MOG. Take the Cookies. Its like reality TV right next door. I can’t help it, I’m addicted.

  33.! wait until she figures out the winter is about to hit! maybe you’ll see her frozen in the front of the house…until the spring thaw…
    for the sake of your neighborhood…i pray not. that would NOT be pretty….
    but on the other hand…tie a bucket to her hand to put in bird seed…sounds like she could make a rather large spot for the birds to rest on while partaking of said seed…

  34. For your next walk past that house I think you need to wear one of those T-shirts that says, “I have knitting needles and I know how to use them.”

  35. It’s minus 37 here with the windchill, I’d hazzard a guess that if Miss ‘Get as much as you need’ was sitting in Edmonton right now she would have at least put on some Uggs….and a scarf.

  36. HOLY SMOLY !!!With all the fun to be had at your knit night AND the mystery of new neighbors I’m sure I’d never get ANY knitting done at all. My curiosity would over come me and somehow I would HAVE to find out what the hell was going on . Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back is my motto. Just can’t help it I was born under LEO. This mystery has GOT to be solved. Just be careful when investigating,we need you on here to give us a laugh each day. Take care but find out ok ?

  37. grocerygatewaydotcom. Whatever surcharge may exist is totally worth it to avoid the creepy neighbour factor.

  38. And here I thought it was obvious. She’s clearly watched you for a while now. She sees how every day or so you traipse out into your garden or onto the sidewalk, lay out your latest knitting and photograph away. I’m sure the idea was brewing in her head for a while. Once the house came up on the market she had no choice but to snap it up! Then, at the first chance she had, she put her plan into action. Springing upon you on the sidewalk in her undies was her (desperate) way of getting you to knit something for her. She even implored you to “get a good look”…she couldn’t have been more obvious had she handed you a tape measure!

  39. They were probably shooting for one of those freaky-ass reality shows. Or maybe another neighbour(s) has/have complained and it was a news station coming to get the skinny (or large) on the story.
    Considering that I don’t think that you could have come up with a response that wouldn’t have fueled her (f)ire, stunned silence was probably the wisest course of (in)action.

  40. Thank you. I needed that laugh after a long, hard day. And I too hope this is only Part One of a long story.

  41. What kind of gold shoes? High heels? Sneakers? (Yes, that is what my mind first ponders…) I’m thinking heels.
    And when does one have on shoes, bra, and panties? Wouldn’t you take off the shoes to take off your pants?
    Clearly, I’m thinking way too hard about this.

  42. 1st thought: You sure you don’t live in New York City?
    2nd thought: Perhaps a “Welcome to the Neighborhood Robe” would be more appropos.
    3rd thought: This is one of the best blog posts I’ve read EVER. πŸ™‚

  43. no cookies and no handknit mason-dixon type dishcloths either…….the gold shoes really crack
    me up though

  44. Thought about it, and well Harlot… you were quite descriptive, we have a very clear picture of this situation… apparently- you did get all you need- to tell a great story;)
    Working on with a deadline- needed a good funny- thnx!
    You thinkin of moving? People are never naked in my neighborhood…. (not so far, anyway)

  45. Hey- as long as she had on gold shoes. Rotfl. Up to the gold shoes I found the story funny, The gold shoes just killed me. Thanks, I needed the laugh.

  46. I am sitting here, trying NOT to laugh, since I just had a tooth pulled. But ya gotta wonder, just where was she going, undressed like that?

  47. Do they ever film the television show cops in Canada? Maybe she was practicing her audition. Unless that show uses real people (which I find hard to believe) and in that case it would explain why she was looking out the window every time you passed to know that you were curiously looking to begin with. In this scenario she is definitely busted.

  48. Holy Cow! I would have been just as shaken as you were. However the voyeur in me would have demanded I see what the film crew was up to. Albeit from a safe distance!

  49. I have nothing worthwhile to say other than THIS IS THE MOST AWESOME STORY EVER and thanks for sharing it! I hope you find out the purpose (if any) of the outfit and the purpose of the camera – I’ll be checking back hourly hoping for the next installment.

  50. I’m with Wannietta: someone called the newspapers or tv news, and they sent a crew to find out what was up. She’ll probably be on the evening news (and I suspect also on the police blotter if she keeps that up).

  51. As hideous as the visual image is that I carry in my mind this evening, I CANNOT stop laughing. Makes me grateful for the guy who smokes on his deck wearing nothing but his birthday suit. At least he sends a friendly wave now and again.

  52. Dear Steph,
    You don’t think alcohol was a part of this equation do you?
    My life is soooo boring compared to yours. Thanks for the laugh. Keep knitting.

  53. Oh-my-god! The woman needs socks! I KNOW who HAS socks, lots of them…. hi hi hi hi!!!!!!!!!

  54. I say you simply become an active spectator. Leave things like a bathrobe, bras, etc. that you get for cheap at second hand stores. Then, pretend you live one or two doors down on the opposite side of the street. Set up a chair and knit your socks quietly. Then, just wait for the show! Nothing will brighten up boring stockinette like crazy neighbors.
    And this could be a good point, it could be bad, but just wait till summer when it is almost warm enough for such attire!

  55. Wow, on the contrary, it sounds as if you got MUCH more than you wanted!
    Maybe someone is making a YouTube video about nutjobs around the world. But please please please tell us what was on the evening news!
    I’m with everyone who suggested a new route to the store….think of it as a chance to explore a slightly different, possibly more clothed neighborhood.

  56. Uh-oh. Woman in (high-heeled?) shoes and undies. Guys with camera and clipboard. Saw something similar once — turned out the neighbor was a minor porn star.
    Hope that’s not the case here, but maybe just in case — take another route to the store, and, uh, lock up the girls?

  57. “sort of crooked and shaky-like”
    So funny — thanks!! And find another route to the store . . .

  58. I can’t believe you didn’t hang around to find out what happened when she answered the door to the camera crew!!
    We used to have a neighbour like that. She’d be walking along the pavement ranting to herself and when a car drove past she would fling herself into a hedge/over the nearest garden wall screaming that the driver was trying to kill her by running her over. Despite her nightgown and walking stick she could actually throw herself quite a distance.
    Isn’t it nice to know that gold shoes, like diamonds, can dress up ANY outfit?!

  59. Hmmm…could it possibly have been a revival of “Candid Camera”?
    Sorry to hear of your shocking adventure with your shocking new neighbor (dare we hope she was a visitor?) but it makes life interesting, doesn’t it?

  60. Oh crud! I have new neighbors (right next door). Now I’m afraid to introduce myself…
    For your new neighbor, I’d say a robe and a bus ticket might be in order. You know, a “Welcome to the neighborhood–now go away” kind of thing. Of course, you’re probably too polite for that. (Whereas, I’m just too cheap to do it.)

  61. Oh, you’ve so got to make the cookies now. Or, perhaps some heavily soaked Christmas cake?
    We have a neighbour and every window, even the front door and fan window above it, are covered in silver foil. I’ve only seen the occupant twice. The last time, he was stomping and swearing around his garage so loudly I could hear him from across the street as I walked by. I’m so glad there’s no sidewalk on his side of the street!

  62. Oh Lord, does this remind me … long ago and far away, the neighbor across the street would, every now and then, get stinking drunk and run around her house naked.
    Wow, haven’t thought of that in years.

  63. and “around the house” means outside, doing laps around the house.
    Every now and then, she’d also take off down the block.

  64. What is an “upstairs?” Perhaps I have a small “upstairs.” And a note to Mary – 50 is not old.

  65. Please ! Please ! Walk SLOWLY by again ….and take pics . I would LOVE to see if the picture of this lady matches the one in my mind . GOLD SHOES ! Tee HEE ! This is just too funny !
    Kim O

  66. Perhaps you could knit her a dress. With any kind of luck the house is a rental and you can contact the landlord. Be on the lookout for funny aromas that might suggest a meth lab.
    Oh, and lock your doors! Leave nothing outside that you don’t mind parting with.

  67. Call the cops, dude. Seriously. You can’t just walk around in your underwear! And yeah, ditto on the ‘call the landlord’. People who buy houses can buy clothes, too. I’m figuring she’s a renter.
    Best. Post. EVAR!

  68. I think I would have started snickering at being asked what I was looking at. But then again I live in a college town where a foul-tempered, scantily clad drunken student is not an unusual sight. Should this individual be considered the Canadian equivalent of trailer-trash (minus the trailer)?
    You should knit her a hat (it would at least cover up the bad dye job).

  69. Oh Man. I think that is hysterical. Having just been up in your city, I can completely picture it. I also would have been struck dumb and would have gotton the hell outta there.

  70. How do you manage to have such interesting things happen to you??? My only “city” living experience was in Barcelona, where I never kept food in the fridge and just stepped out to get veggies, warm bread, etc., etc. But, other than the woman whose hair and fur coat matched her dog, there was nothing unusual about the neighbors! You do take the cake!

  71. I simply love you. You have the best way of telling a story that lets us know exactly what happened along with what was running through your mind at the same time. What a gift. This story took me back to the years I lived in the “touristy” part of Southern Florida. You absolutely never knew what was going to happen next but it was usually something extremely bazaar. I do not miss it although it was very entertaining at the time!

  72. OMG I am laughing so hard right now. I had to stop and read it to my sister who is also cracking up. MAN I am glad I don’t live in your neighborhood!
    Maybe you should leave some knitted items on the front walk when you know she is not there and won’t assault you. That way she can maybe get the hint that clothes are good.
    Thanks for sharing and sorry it happened to you!!

  73. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I am so completely done complaining about the gaggle of teenagers on the corner in my neighborhood – at least they are fully clothed!!! Good luck Steph – I hope they are renters!

  74. I think a nice pair of opal tiger or owl socks would go nicely with the gold shoes. Maybe thigh highs.

  75. See, now I would be planning my next walk past her house already to find out what’s going on! πŸ™‚
    Keep us posted if you figure out what the camera crew was doing there.
    Darn funny story!

  76. When someone sneers, “What are you looking at?” the appropriate response is “Not much.”

  77. For god’s sake, just don’t introduce her to the Ukrainians. Those summer night arguments under your cherry tree could turn into parties. With, like, slivovitz. πŸ˜‰
    (Seriously, good wishes for no future encounters!)

  78. You know, she just might be mentally ill. Those people may have been there to try and document her state of mind.
    No clue…I am with you though, no cookie platter unless you can dust them with lithium or something.
    Gold shoes…can’t help but laugh at that whole picture.

  79. Wow, I miss Toronto, London is sooo boring. Skankiest? That paints an ugly picture. News crew? I’ll have to watch City tonight. Last time I was in TO there was a girl wearing a six inch skirt with gold high heel Zena the warrior pricess shoes. Maybe that was her Mom. Hope it’s a rental. Pictures please.

  80. I sincerely hope we will be able to read further installments about that desperate housewife. This whole bizzare tale is great fodder for a “story starter” but this time, the truth is stranger than any fiction. Do tell!

  81. Oh dear. My. I’m speechless.
    And I thought Franklin met up with an unusual
    cross section of what passes for human. Are you guys
    trying to top each other?

  82. I would probably bake her cookies anyway, just to see if I could get any more information out of her about what the heck is going on in there! That and any excuse to bake cookies is a good one.

  83. Actually… that’s kinda creepy. Thankfull we don’t have many of those in my neighborhood. I can’t imagine why this could possibly happen, God my life is boring!
    I’m turning in my college apps today, and if I get rejected, can I come live with you? I won’t touch your yarn, I can feed myself, I’ll clean after myself, I won’t steal the phone, I’ll bring my own computer, but could I live with you? Please? I’m terrified and I need to know that I can have a backup plan. ^^;; Beyond getting an arranged marriage, waiting a couple years, then divorcing him for money. That’s really thhe best that I’ve got.

  84. I have a question and don’t know where to go to find the answer… Has anyone heard of “White Buffalo” 100’% Pure Virgin Wool (made in Canada) and I think imported to the States by William Unger & Co. What I have is sort of a reel, looks like 4 strands but not twisted either individually or together, sort of like it’s not spun. I know “0” about spinning! How is it used or any other information would be most helpful. It’s really so nice and soft… Pat M. Please email me and let me know if you can help.

  85. For you to blog about the neighbour/neighbour’s associate, she must have really been something else. I love the gold shoes addition. Please keep us updated should you unveil what a camera crew was doing at her door. πŸ™‚

  86. wow, maybe she is related to the woman who asked dear Franklin of The Panopticon, if he learnt to knit in prison…

  87. Oh Steph.. I was hoping to read that you slowed down to see what happned when she answered the door.. but I would’ve been creeped out and just wanted to get home as well. Maybe next time you should bring Joe.. I hear he’s mulling about the place.

  88. I can’t believe she said Get a good look to a blogger… little did she know who she was talking to! On the other hand, she’s got alcoholic/drug abuser/paranoid or some such combination written all over her, and that is a sad state of affairs for a woman. For your safety, I’d suggest crossing the street. Or maybe send Joe to the market for awhile… not because he’s a guy, just another adult is all.

  89. Reminds me of the time I was walking along a small, nearly-deserted street in Yorkville, and was absolutely astonished to have a well-dressed woman coming towards me with her hand stuffed in the front of her skirt. I guessed she was adjusting her undies.
    I tried not to stare, slack-jawed in amazement, rather like one knows not to stare or look at a horrendous car crash. (I mean, this was Yorkville, you know? Surely to Whichever-Personification-Of-The-Divine-One-Might- Swear-To-In-An-Event-Like-This it wouldn’t happen in Yorkville?) Anyway, she said to me: “Well!! Ex-cu-u-u-se me!” in that tone of righteous indignation that somehow I was violating her privacy, as she was walking down the sidewalk in full daylight, with her hand down her front.
    I had no idea what to say. I just opened my mouth and out came: “Sorry lady. I got dressed before I left the house. You should try it.”
    I’m surprised she didn’t club me with her purse. Though, I suppose that would have been awkward for her, given where one of her hands was.

  90. Where I come from,clipboards and cameras at odd hours mean you’ve one a million dollars from Publishers Clearing House. If this is the case, there is no God.

  91. Oh well, at least she’s good blog fodder.
    Wear dark sunglasses and stare as much as you want. Carry some spare sock needles to defend yourself with.

  92. Oh Steph…a delayed groupie…she was in the lobby of that hotel when you had the “incident” on one of your book tours (was it last year?). She was just so stunned when she actually met up with you again she didn’t know what to wear…or say…
    Or…the gold shoes…if she clicks her heels together does it take her back to…Kansas? Mars? Where’s Auntie Em when you need her?
    And finally…smile…one of you may be on Candid Camera!

  93. My mother would say kill her with kindness. Take the cookies, then maybe a cake. every time you see her start chatting as if the two of you were dearest friends, even if you have to cross the street to do so. Always be cheerful. She will either break down and join the real world or better yet move.
    My dad on the other hand would say be glad shes there because there is always at least one totally insane person in every setting so at least you know in this case it isn’t you.

  94. Clearly this is the sequel to Borat. And congratulations for being part of it. And Steph? Next time could you get a picture, complete with the traveling sock?

  95. “She had gold shoes.”
    This is crucial information. It informs us that this, in fact, happened and is not a hallucination brought about by all the sock knitting you have had to do of late.
    I think a camera will have to be your new companion when walking to the store from now on. Go early, go often, that way, you will be able to share the love with the rest of us.

  96. That’s why we love TO and oh how I miss it. The things one can see on any given street in town would shatter that “kinder gentler nation”, more like “whackery, loonier”. The best city in North America by far and always will be.
    4 years of film school and we saw it all and then some. How I wish I had been on the street with my camera.

  97. I am so sorry about that, but it was kind of a strange morning. I promise next week I’ll wear a shirt. And pants.

  98. Oh, no! I don’t want her here in Kansas!
    There’s very little nakedness in my neighborhood. Not that I would object if the hot guy across the street had a little slip . . . :p

  99. Oh, good Lord, I’m waiting for the next installment of this tale! Be sure to let us know of the further adventures of Bra & Panty Woman (I was going to call her Lady, but that’s definitely not right!).

  100. New blinds, huh?
    No trash?
    Time for some serious reconnaissance. I would be sending a continual parade of family and friends on slow walks up the street. With cell phones. But then, there’s those blinds, might frustrate the whole operation.

  101. Sounds like any given day on the A train….and doesn’t she know those shoes made her overdressed?

  102. My immediate reaction to the camera and clipboard was, so when does that mean someone will be showing the footage of the stunned look on your face? Being famous only gets weirder and weirder, doesn’t it.

  103. My! I think you should still go to the store. Just wear sunglasses so she won’t know what you’re looking at. Sounds very much like the proverbial train wreck. I’d be fascinated.

  104. I am de-lurking just to say that *this* is why I read this blog! I vote that, instead of the cookies, you knit her a knee-length wool sweater. Or would that be too obvious of a hint?

  105. I don’t think you’ve made me laugh this hard since you visited us in OKC!! If you eventually find out the “truth” about this new neighbor, I hope you share it with us!

  106. This brought to mind an article I read this week at The Onion web page titled “Chicago Rolls Out Cold-Weather Prostitutes”. If anyone is unfamiliar with The Onion it’s a spoof news paper that was started in Madison, WI and as you can tell, is not for children. . .
    Maybe Toronto is rolling out a similar program?

  107. Hi – the beginning of this story makes me think of my favorite author, Barbara Pym. She loved to ‘investigate’ people, and many of the characters in her books do the same. Try “Excellent Women” or “No Fond Return of Love” – Pym wrote about British women in the 1940’s-1970’s, simple normal people in little English villages dealing with everyday problems, but she writes with such humor – you will fall in love with her characters! Give her a try! She is fun to read while knitting, on a dreary day with a nice cup of tea.

  108. Very funny. Reminds me of the time that we were driving in my neighborhood (Seattle) and saw a guy talking to the police. Conservative hair cut, wire rimmed glasses, completely naked. He seemed to be just talking, not too flustered or anything. I did not want my toddler daughter to see, and we almost made it by. Then she started yelling, Mommy! This was followed by, “I saw a police officer!” Phew…

  109. Boy! And I thought the neighbors with the yippy pomeranian dog who stand outside in their front yard (no matter what the weather) and smoke, were tough to take.
    Ya got me beat by a mile, Steph!

  110. It was probaly some new reality show. I bet it even has a pithy title like, “Welcome to the Neighborhood” and you’re all on a sort of candid camera. Freaky.

  111. Well, got you off of the sock thang! Welcome to the dark side…if she had only worn a crochet/knit ensemble you would have been better able to quip appropriately! As a New Yorker who lived in TO for a while, you people are somewhat sheltered from the harsh realities, ya know….

  112. Nevermind the scantily clad woman story (which is incredibly hilarious!)…I’m just glad to hear someone else is “observant” when it comes to their neighbors. My husband jokingly calls me a spy…but I think it is a woman thing that we notice when neighbors have hung new blinds/repaired their house/etc. πŸ™‚

  113. What a perfectly revolting woman (and experience). Things like that ruin your whole day — if not week. You have my sympathy. What DO you do when confronted by ignorant arrogance? I usually run and hide.

  114. I love city life! If you lived in the suburbs you would miss out on characters like your new neighbor. That and your lettuce would be droopy.

  115. Oh. My. Jesus.
    After hearing my laughter and cries of, “Honestly, why doesn’t this shit ever happen to ME??!!”, my boyfriend read this and declared:
    “I love this woman’s blog.”
    Heh. I tricked him into reading a knitting blog. And he loved it.
    Thanks for scoring one point for me.

  116. I agree, forget the cookies….but go to the store more often. Who knows what you are missing by knitting all those green socks… could report back to all of us. And we could live vicariously……
    I have also gotten used to shop the ” Latin ” way, every day for fruit veggies and tortillas…it is great…it gets me out of the house and my office which is just 2 floors down from where I live… I have seen quite a few astonishing things, some of which still make me blush, just remembering ….but never a middle aged woman in a gravity brassiere……oh, the benefits of city living……!!
    Mexico City

  117. Maybe you \should have offered her some socks…to be delivered after Knitty Gritty of course. I think you’ll have plenty.

  118. Clearly John Waters is making a film in your neighborhood. Sounds like he’s doing a 40th Anniversary remake of “Pink Flamingos.” This is probably Edie the Egg Lady’s daughter.
    Either that or some of my fellow New Orleanians have made thier way up there. If she bothers you again, try to distract her with a rum drink and some crawfish.

  119. DH used to work at an auto dealer. They had an abbreviation that they used to describe car mileage and women of the type that jumped out at you. It was TMU (true mileage unknown).

  120. My theories are:
    1. I’m with Shel – totally a porn star hissy-fit moment. I bet the harridan had just been told by the Director that she wasn’t sufficiently identifying with the role and she’d flipped him off while going around to the back of the house to sulk in her trailer.
    2. Not sure if Canada has Housing Commission type accommodation like we do in Oz. Essentially, folk who are low income or physically or mentally unable to hold down a job put their names down on a list to get a government owned house. The house is on a rent-to-buy basis. (it usually takes about 10 years for your number to come up.) The government buys houses in all neighborhoods to ensure that these folk aren’t ghetto-ised and then does the houses/apartments up (new blinds – see where I’m going with this?). So, you get completely loopy folks who’ve gone off their meds stomping out with an attitude – but really redecorating. Don’t worry, the redecorating won’t last with this one : )
    Retreat was definitely the best plan!

  121. Woah. When I read the post title, I was thinking about dyelots!
    Usually that kind of agressive nudity is reserved for sexually abusive men. I’m surprised to see a woman using her body that way. While it would be interesting to know “the rest of the story”, I’d advise you to steer clear. With a paunch like she’s got, (due to decades of constipation/buildup), she’s going to be sufficiently ornery that you won’t be able to predict what she’ll do, or how she’ll react to you. Just start taking note of people you see with that kind of belly, and how they treat others. They’ll be grouchy & aggressive just about every time.
    The thing that really waves red flags for me is that this woman is into power over others, and knows how to blatantly use social taboos to get it. Stay far, Far, FAR away, Steph. Disappoint your blog readers, and stay safe. (Years of self-defense training are talking here.)
    If there’s an indecent exposure law in Toronto, you might want to notify the local police. At least get her on their records, or find out what the statutes are so you’ll know where you stand if you encounter her again.
    Taking Joe to the store with you might be a good idea . . . huge Neufies make good bodyguards. ;o)

  122. I thought dealing with drama pregnant woman who only wants the shower because of the gifts is bad!!!
    Now I am completely curious of who she is and all that…

  123. I used to do home visits for preschoolers in a nearby American city (just over the lake from you!). One of my most interesting stories is of a grandmother who answered the door in nothing but a hand towel…well, a hand towel held in front of her ample self. She said to me, “Oh, it’s just you,” and turned to call her granddaughter- leaving the hand towel IN FRONT of her. πŸ™‚ I guess you never know what you’re gonna see.

  124. “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!”
    What a total freak-show. Definitely sounds more like a uppity drag queen fit to me.

  125. Eeep! And I thought the woman in the elevator yesterday who kept on burping and saying ‘sorry’ over and over was weird.

  126. Stephanie, I feel your pain. I lived in Parkdale in a basement apartment for a spell when I was a student. We had *ahem,* professionals, on the corner right outside our door often. (And by often, I mean every evening.) There was one who never, NEVER wore pants. In broad daylight. On King Street. I learned a valuable lesson then that many a young starlet today (and your crazy neighbour) could benefit from: pants are good. And you are wearing them, so you know pants are good. She? Is. A. Nutter. Just pick up your pace and avert your eyes, should you meet her again.

  127. Did you make this story up because you didn’t want to show us more sock pics?!
    I laughed so hard I just about fell off my chair! Can’t wait to hear what happens next.

  128. how about some hand knit socks for the neighbour?
    maybe some hand knit undies and bra set?
    lord knows, she needs them.
    i live in a small town, i only have drug dealing neighbours across the street.
    they look at me funny when i pull a “harlot” and take pictures of yarn on my vine outside..go figure.

  129. Go back to her door, tell her you didn’t realize she was in the “entertainment industry”, hand her a sock, and get us pictures! You, above all, know that a picture is worth a thousand words.

  130. Oh, I’m so homesick right now!
    [grew up in TO, now live in Nashville TN.]
    We never have neighbors this fun down here.

  131. I think this is exactly the sort of situation which calls for the phrase “there goes the neighbourhood”. Although I hope it doesn’t.

  132. I take the cookies with sequins on them. I’d love passing by her house again to see what happens next. Watch the local news to see if that’s what the camera’s were about.

  133. OMG! I had a crack house across the street from me for awhile but other than their business, they were quite nice. That’s just too weird! and I do hope Margaret isn’t right…I’m so waiting for Publishers Clearing House. Maybe if I go outside in old underwear and gold shoes???

  134. Be really grateful for the new blinds.
    DH works for UPS, scantily clad women open the door all the time (scary) but nasty agressive women coming out to threaten on the sidewalk? Suggest you get a camera with great zoom for those pictures, but you stay as far away as possible. And by all means report to the police. Stay safe.

  135. Wow — and everyone says San Francisco is full of loonies!
    The Gold Shoes definitely make it for me. I agree with earlier posts that pictures would really add to the story!

  136. You know, I don’t know which I find funnier: the cuckoo woman in her knickers or the nice young man with the clipboard about to “get as much as he needs.”
    Maybe they were filming an episode of “When Naked Nutcases Attack”.

  137. oh my god…maybe it’s PORN! they could have been shooting a PORN FILM! RIGHT DOWN THE BLOCK FROM YOU!!! ugly fat old lady porn!

  138. Holy carp. What is going on lately? It’s like somebody opened the cage and let the Crazy out!
    Stephanie, I can’t imagine what you could possibly SAY to that. I’d probably have said something utterly inane…like “thank you”.
    Thanks for a really good laugh, though. “Sorry did I neglect to mention that?” Ooooooh, snap!

  139. OK, as soon as I come up with the chemical formula for a Valium/Ativan/Haldol air freshener I will mail it to you. I think it would come in very handy if sprayed down the ventilation shaft. Out here in the wilds of N.California the worst thing I ever came up against was a scary opossum…but he wasn’t wearing gold shoes!!!!!!

  140. Wait a second … all these socks … could it be … no, it isn’t … wait, yes it could be … the start of Christmas knitting??????

  141. Clearly she is ill, and demonstrating some level of aggressive behaviour – how ill, and how much more aggressive she has the potential to be remains unknown. I’d be cautious, and call the police if necessary – you could be doing her a favor if, for example, she has gone off her meds and lost contact with her support systems.

  142. There I was, having a shocking morning with workmen and scaffolding all over my house and in dire need of some cheering up.
    Little did I know that laughter was but a click away.
    I laughed so hard I thought I was going to choke on my chamomile tea. While I’m sure it was a terrible ordeal for you at the time, at least you know you made one persons day.
    And I think it’s safe to say the general consensus is – we want the follow-up story when it comes to hand.

  143. Wow. Sounds like she fell out of the crazy tree and hit every branch on the way down. That’s just… nuts. I’m glad she didn’t assault you. Erratic people do that. This does have the makings of a VERY interesting blog plot for when the socks do you in altogether. (And at least your neighbors have something to talk behind their hands about instead of your proclivity for photographing knitted garments in trees, on shrubs, around fences, etc., which is very lovely for the viewer, but (surely) bizarre to the non-fiber-lover who is watching you take a picture of an incomplete sock on the top of their wrought -iron fence.
    Cheers! and good luck with the “new” neighbourhood nut.
    P.S. Maybe she’s an embittered ….. you know…. trying to re-live the ‘La Dolce Vita’ days she never actually had? Just sayin’.

  144. There I was, having a shocking morning with workmen and scaffolding all over my house and in dire need of some cheering up.
    Little did I know that laughter was but a click away.
    I laughed so hard I thought I was going to choke on my chamomile tea. While I’m sure it was a terrible ordeal for you at the time, at least you know you made one persons day.
    And I think it’s safe to say the general consensus is – we want the follow-up story when it comes to hand.

  145. That is good…. about as good as the time I witnessed a guy walking down the street and wearing a newspaper and socks. At least he was not a neighbor.

  146. well that was quite the introduction wasn’t it? It is similar to my across the street neighbor who was brilliant once but has taken that step over into wacky – who when I ran into him in the store a few years ago proceeded to tell me how God was talking to him and telling him he must keep his hedge perfect – and God was talking to him thru his oil burner – and no he didn’t seem to think that maybe someone else may speak to him thru an oil burner other than God. I still pick him up if I see him walking home from the store with his packages but I know better than to ask how he is doing now!!

  147. Ok. First of all i swear i’m not going to look to see what Rams has written, before i comment…cuz, ya know, it’s been scary having her in my brain from time to time.
    Now. On to the matter at hand. I simply do not have any words for the jaw dropping situation you lived through. I know, that’s hardly profound a comment, but i actually sat here with my own jaw dropped as i read along.
    So, here i sit. And i must admit, you’ve got be very curious here. Nosey lesbians in Maryland are dying to know about your neighbor(s) four doors down. Please, do not keep us in suspense.
    If it were i, i’d find a way to perch myself with coffee and knitting somewhere where i would have a good view to collect information, errr, ok….spy.
    I’m dying here. Waiting patirntly for the next installment of “The Insane Neighbour”.

  148. Thanks, for once again ensuring that hot coffee should come shooting out of my nose, (dont know why I have not learnt yet to NOT drink and read you at the same time.)
    That was hysterical! I am so sorry you had to see it, but hysterical nonetheless!
    You should try walking down Smith St mall in Darwin on a Saturday night during the build up to the wet season, you really see crazy then, but I do believe this chick would fit right in……
    How goes the socks?

  149. I think the only fitting thing to do is knit her a bra that would go down to her knees. Show her how you really feel πŸ˜‰

  150. You should have a nice, warm poncho ready the next time you pass her house and try to make a carnival ring-toss game out of it if you see her again.
    Maybe she has never experienced the love that is found in a knit poncho and is waiting for you to show her the light.

  151. Had I been you & had the presence of mind (which I almost certainly would NOT have had under those circumstances), I probably would have asked her if she were cold. I mean the weather in Chicago has been unusually warm (highs in the high 50’s & low 60’s) but still not warm enough to go tramping around in one’s undies. And I doubt it’s any warmer in Toronto. Perhaps she is somehow related to Britney Spears who apparently has been photographed more than once in the past few days wearing short skirt & getting out of car – apparently pantiless & giving the paparazzi a show. Please let us know if there’s anything on the news about her.

  152. Oh. Wow.
    I’m laughing at my computer again, Stephanie. My family just looks at me and asks “Is it Yarn Harlot?”

  153. My personal feeling here is to report her to the police as an insurance policy–it’s not like this is an unnoticeable event, after all–and then I’d follow the ‘watch from a distance while knitting’ suggestion. And definitely with a camera. And a phone.
    My response to something like that is more along the lines of cross-and-garlic brandishment with cries of the ‘back, foul fiend’ variety….especially on second and subsequent encounters (God forbid!). First encounter? You did very well–I couldn’t have come up with anything whatsoever….
    Perhaps an only-barely-post-op transsexual??
    Yeesh…thanks for the grins!

  154. Steph, you lead a very interesting life. If something like that happened while I lived in Chicago, I’d have just avoided the area. Up here, I’d be trying to find the crazy person’s caregiver to let them know she was out.

  155. Hmmm, much more interesting, and hopefully less dangerous than the prostitutes and drug dealers that sometimes spill over into my city neighborhood.
    Ahhh- the joys of city life, never a dull moment.
    I wonder if knowing that several thousand knitters would read about her antics would have dissuaded her, thinking about the camera, I guess I doubt it.
    So sorry for your trauma.

  156. Geez, that even beats the guy who was peeing on a bush in his front yard while I was walking the dog! I suspect he had a wee too much of the bubbly. Oddly enough the dog squatted to pee too right then and there. It’s an odd world. And what, no sock pics this post? I’m so disappointed πŸ™‚

  157. TV show. Has to be. Surely????
    Take her some cookies anyway. Tell her that you`re sorry, you didn`t introduce yourself properly at your first meeting. Take a chaperone though…she might think you were smitten by her fetching outfit!

  158. OMG! I’m laughing so hard, it’s a perfect description of my crazy neighbour, maybe she’s moved to canada? She often wears a swimsuite, or if it’s very cold a wool sweather and a swimsuite…

  159. 1. Gather up all of the scratchiest yarn you can find in your house.
    2. Make her a poncho.
    It’ll be a nice change from socks.

  160. LOL Holy CRAP! I would have been utterly and truly stunned. I mean, that’s one of those things you look back on later in the day (and frankly for the rest of your life) and you honestly know you couldn’t have handled it “better” (ie snappy comeback). There’s just no way. You’d have to be the most hardboiled of people not to be flabbergasted by that.
    Apparently it really does take all kinds.

  161. I can just see her from your description and I wish I couldn’t.
    Some of your posts really should come with a coffee warning so that keyboards all over the knitting world are safe from flying hot liquids.

  162. We need pictures. This could turn into a Soap Opera. I think you need to find a good spot to spy on her/them. Since Joe is working from home you could take turns.

  163. And here I came over thinking I was going to be subjected to another sock! Heh.
    P.S. Bring the cookies, this would make a great series.

  164. Maybe those guys were from the Pulishers Clearing House Prize Patrol? If they were they’d be changing the name to the “Surpize Patrol”.
    There’s a TV show called “What Not To Wear” maybe she’s auditioning for a new one called “Find Anything to Wear”
    Take Joe with you once in a while.

  165. So that’s what it’s like to like in the city? Wow. Don’t see much of that in the woods of northern Michigan–just neked stuff–
    deer, rabbits, squirrels, opposoms, skunks, porcupines, and bears.

  166. Oh my goodness! You know, if you keep this up you’ll have enough material for the first-ever knitting-focused soap opera. I’d keep out of her way – but still let us know what you discover!

  167. You made my day. So nice to know that I’m not the only one who has these crazy things happen to them. Talk about a deer in the headlights moment. I get why you didn’t say anything it is so surreal you think you must be dreaming. Too funny now but not then.

  168. How about a “welcome to the neighborhood” bathrobe. A nice, unrevealing bathrobe.
    Generally, I don’t mind lettin’ it all hang out, as it were, but there’s a time and a place. And for goodness sakes, if you’re going to be out and about in your underwear, at least wear your good underwear, maybe something exciting like satin or leopard print or satin leopard print. And when you walk out your door in nothing but your skivvies, expect your neighbors to look at you as though chickens have perched on your head.
    I am afraid of your new neighbor.

  169. AUGH! WHAT! You didn’t hand her the sock and take a picture!! You are totally slacking!
    The sock fumes have gone to your brain!

  170. When you have a headache/nausea/cramps/dizziness/flashbacks (or whatever illness) next week, you may THINK it’s all those green socks. But we’ll all know it’s post traumatic stress disorder from your neighbor! Hee hee. I almost laughed out (real) loud at work reading this!

  171. PAHAHAH! And here I thought this was going to be a heartwarming my new neighbor is a wonderful knitter who wants to spend hours knitting and chatting and sharing her fabulous stash…
    Cookies are definatley out… Bathrobe is IN…
    now the big question… did they BUY the house OR could they possibly be renting?

  172. Are you sure you didn’t stumble into a 1950’s gangster film? She sounds like a gangster’s mole. Or maybe it was a remake of Sunset Boulevard?

  173. Talk about Chutzpah.
    Can you have chutzpah like that without earning it the hard way? Cause you have to admire her guts – well, her inside guts, not the skankaliciousness she was parading around for all to see.
    Anyway, you gave me a hearty laugh, thanks.

  174. No cookies for that one. Some Prozac frosted cupcakes perhaps? πŸ˜‰ Don’t knit her anything either, she obviously won’t wear it.
    A welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift card to Victorias Secret would be in order here. If she’s going to wander the neighborhood in her undies she should, at least, have the decency to wear *good* undies.
    Good luck avoiding her.

  175. City life, I remember it well. I recall the time hubby and I drove to West Virginia to a traditional camping retreat, only to have it pour down rain a half hour from the campsite. We decided to wait it out and met up with some friends under a dry cooking platform. Hubby decides it will be best if we drive back (it is still raining buckets 3-4 hours later) to Baltimore after the festivities end. We do so, (each way is three hours) we get back to Pigtown, yes that really is the name of the community. Climbed into bed (It’s about 1:30am) and we hear a pounding on the door, we look at each other, surely it isn’t our door they are knocking on, it isn’t. It is the house across the street. The individual knocking is screaming at the top of her lungs “You told everybody in the that I am a whore.” hubby and I are laying in bed, looking at one another, mouths agape. The woman continues, You told everybody I am a whore. We then hear the occupants say “come in we’ll discuss this trying to shut the woman up and get her into the house. I turned on my side “honey, we drove all this way just to find out that somebody is a whore, maybe. It doesn’t get better than this.” It is one of the many stories from city living that I had for 15+ years.
    Patty in the country

  176. “What are you looking at?!?”
    My almost immediate response (yeah, I’ve been there, I feel your pain) has always been, “I’m trying to figure it out.”

  177. Random partial or full-nudity is not something that just happens in the city…
    I live in the woods, on a dead-end dirt road off of another dead-end dirt road, and my neighbors (who are quite lovely and good neighbors) like to go to the mailbox naked. It’s about the same time I walk my dog in the morning, and at first he’d run away, but now we just wave to eachother and say: “Good morning!”
    But, in my case, it’s not so bad seeing him naked!

  178. Mental illness is very sad. There, but for the Grace of God go I… thankful that you have such a blessed life. Maybe if you walked a mile in her gold shoes?????

  179. I will never be able to wear my gold lame flats again without getting a visual. Hell, I’ve been over dressing in them! Too much. Just too much.

  180. Given your description, my first response (sitting here at my desk, given time to think) is, “I’m not really sure.”
    However, I would have likely had the same response as you did – complete, stunned silence. This is a seriously loopy world and every day I think of more reasons to just stay home and knit.
    And please, y’all, stop saying she’s an American. It’s the Americans with GOOD SENSE that are moving to Canada. (Or were, prior to the last election.)

  181. Holy Shit!!! o.0
    First off, Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!! Skanky Undies is just not right.
    The gold shoes make me wonder if she’s a… “Lady of the Night”. I only ever see Gold shoes on the “Street Ladies” on TV, like Law and Order or whatever. Or I guess on Older Women who are well past 75 who think the gold shoes makes them seem a bit wild or dressy. Plus I swear the gold shoes are always in the cheapie bin. I guess if you’re older and living on a fixed income or needing some low cost “eye catching work foot wear” then the gold shoes might seem like a good deal.
    The gold shoes are the key here.
    OR what if she has an older mother living in the house with her and she stole her shoes and is neglecting her. She stole her shoes so her mum couldn’t escape. That poor old woman and now her daughter is in there running around unwashed trying to make her eat cat food and taunting her with her youth (50 is more youthful than 75 or 82 any day of the week) by wearing her prized gold shoes!! That Bitch!
    Or she has Orphans in there. Making them eat cat food and wash her unused bathtub. The lady you described could easily fit into Carol Burnett’s role in Little Orphan Annie, that Miss Hannigan. Think about it, the icky undies, bad hair and big mouth. I’d suggest she was an actress rehearsing for the role and maybe the camera people were doing one of those “in the theatre” stories, but even a bad actress or a good one would wear a better fitting bra.
    OR she’s a crazy cat lady!! She’s making them all eat cat food, which by now would seem reasonable since they are cats and all. Drop the weight and dyed hair and she sounds like a crazy cat lady I once knew. Trust me you do NOT want to see a crazy cat lady in her icky undies. Just wrong. She had gold flats, because they were cheap at the Thrift Store. Plus being a crazy cat lady would explain and the cat food she was trying to feed to her old mum and the orphans. Heh. I may have a bit of imagination or have watched too much Television or something. πŸ˜›
    Still, what a crazy lady!
    Don’t take her cookies and watch your kids when they go outside. Who knows what will fly out her front door next.

  182. Wow, and I thought this post was about getting as much YARN as you need, so as not to run out. This was better! But then, I’m still bemused by the neighbor up on the corner that let her preschool tot run around buck nekkid in her yard, but that was in the summer. Still, you don’t often see that in my part of Tennessee. Thanks for the laugh!!

  183. Geez, nothing “fun” like that ever happens in our neighborhood. All we get are the occasional kids selling stuff for school and troups or newspaper delivery.
    You paint pictures with your words. I went from my mouth hanging open to laughing histerically.
    Love your blog!

  184. Oh MY….thank you for the best laugh I have had this week!! You are such a perfect story weaver….I could literally see the look on your face….too funny!!

  185. Arrgghhh!! I hate people who get in your face for no reason. It makes my blood boil and my ire rise!
    Steph, do not be afraid to walk to the store. The sidewalk is for everyone. I hope the sock are coming along well!

  186. Just when you think the world can’t get any crazier… Was she making a political statement about clothing made in sweatshops? Probably not…

  187. That was spectacular. I admit I’m really, really curious as to what those camera-carrying guys were up to and if she’s the, uh, Lovely Lady living there.
    What is with the metallic shoes? I wonder who dreamed up making the damned things. I mean, seriously, can you picture the poor sod who presented this to his company as a “good idea”?? And what of the idiots who agreed with him? Geez.
    Maybe we’ll see her on some weird documentary special. You choose the channel.

  188. Here in Big Sky Country you can actually buy a “Welcome” sign made out of barbed wire. That sort of mixed message seems like it might be a perfect “gift” for the new neighbor. Spray painted gold, of course. =) Let me know if you’d like me to send one! [There’s also a barbed wire “Go Away” but that seems a little too obvious.]
    Thanks for a(nother) great laugh.

  189. Smile! You’re on Candid Camera! Or maybe Crones Gone Wild?
    I recommend the hermit life. It’s nice in here. Turned on the heat night before last and thought of you and wondered if your family had any warmth yet. I only turned the heat on because my poor dog came in the room jittering like a jack-hammer. If she had had any teeth, I feel sure they would have chattered, poor old girl. I turned on the heat and started a doggy sweater. My poor chilly old thing. Maybe she needs socks, too.
    Avoid that house. Cars drive into it. Crazies emerge from it. It might be like a zone of icky, like the Amityville Horror, or kind of the opposite of Sedona, AZ. More like a corner of instability, a Bermuda triangle on your street, where ordinary vehicles and humans veer into bizarre behavior, all inexplicably.
    I don’t like the sound of it. I say flee.
    There are lots of nice caves in the desert, and the rent is low.

  190. That does seem too t.v.-like for it to be real life. Hopefully if it does get put in the news, you will let us know what’s up with this person.
    But please don’t let it ruin your shopping fresh everyday. I would enjoy that too. And since I am never in the mood for what I have in the house, that would suit me just fine.

  191. I’m with Shel…I’m thinking they are making porno films in there. Then I re-read the part about new blinds and very little waste in the trash bin….I KNOW they’re making porno films in there! Definitely keep your eye on B-n-P (Bra and Panty) Lady’s house….

  192. My mother just bought gold shoes…
    But I’m sure she hasn’t been in Canada recently.
    Right, Mom?

  193. Gold shoes huh!? Nice! We have some “unique” neighbors too. I hear and see things I wish I didn’t, but I don’t have to go to the market to see them, I get to look out my window. Maybe a little gift card to the undies shop would be in order for this “new” neighbor?

  194. This neighbourhood is never dull, is it? πŸ˜‰
    Someone mentioned a “welcome to the neighbourhood” bathrobe… sounds good to me — left anonymously on the front step of course!

  195. My first thought was to wonder if she was carrying a purse, and was it gold? After pondering a while, here’s my scenario. Nice, quiet, respectable young couple rents house. Mentally ill and/or addicted mother of one of them invites herself for an extended visit. (She probably got evicted from her last residence.) When she struts into the kitchen in her undies and gold shoes, they clear their throats and timidly suggest she should put on a robe. To demonstrate her contempt for their “prissy” standards, she stomps right out of the house. Standing on the sidewalk, she doesn’t know what to do next, but when she sees you staring she becomes even more inflamed and decides to just stomp off into glory, with no goal other than to show everybody how much she doesn’t care about their opinion. The camera crew heard about her and want to film her for some piece on wacky city people. I mean, if she were a porn star, wouldn’t she be wearing better underwear? While porn has never been my choice of viewing or reading, I’ve always imagined the women as somewhat good-looking and wearing new undergarments. It’s not as if you can go out and buy raggedy bras and panties for a scene. You have to create it, with years of wear and tear, don’t you? So it was a crazy temper tantrum, and that’s why she wasn’t carrying a purse.

  196. She must be the sister of the er….person renting the house on the corner of my street. Poor Steph!

  197. I’m trying to suss out what the strangest part of this story really is…
    1. The Shoes
    2. The Outfit
    3. The Apparent Lack Of Awareness Of One’s Appearance
    4. The Attitude
    5. The Camera Crew
    I hope there’s more to this story, though hopefully with information collected in a slightly less scary way. πŸ™‚

  198. Maybe a “welcome to the neighborhood” bottle of anti-psychotic happy pills. Ya know… to make the world a safer place.

  199. wasn’t it awfully cold to be sauntering around in her skivvies, whether indoors or out?
    maybe COPS is interviewing her?
    let us know if you find out more.
    and leave an anonymous gift card for Victoria’s Secret in her mail slot!

  200. Holy cow…you had me rolling on the floor with laughter with this one.
    Maybe your new neighbor had been driven mad by knitting sock after sock after sock, all in green?
    Stranger things have been known to happen.

  201. That is hysterical! And you painted such a vivid picture! I could just see those lovely panties…
    Well, I’d say the cookies are definitely out, but perhaps a nice wool cap to go with the bra & undies—you wouldn’t want her to get cold! πŸ™‚

  202. Wow. I haven’t seen anything like that since I lived in the apartment complex with the nightly knife fight in the parking lot and the 500lb. woman stalked the stairs to the apartment above ours and started banging doors and windows in with a crowbar, telling us the she bet the kid was his too… At least you live in a neighborhood where the person in the skankderwear isn’t getting cheered on by your neighbors in the quad…

  203. I probably would have asked her if she was alright. Then who knows where the rest of that conversation would have gone! eek
    Maybe an anonymous ‘Welcome’ cookie tray (a non returnable one)?

  204. Sweet fancy Moses! Angry underwear lady has just become the stuff of legends. I wonder if she has any inkling of how famous she is now.
    I’d say a welcome gift is necessary but seeing as she clearly has underwear and shoes, I would suggest welcome-to-the-neighborhood pants. Gold lamΓ© ones to match her shoes maybe.

  205. Holy Cats!! I kept waiting for you to say you were trying out your new, non-knitting, short story writing techniques. . . what an experience! Once, when I was in college, I saw a gal leading this dude down the street on a leash but they both had clothes on. . . well, they both had on leather but that counts, right?

  206. Oh, that’s just gross! Perhaps they are filming a new episode of Candid Camera? Perhaps another neighbor had the same experience and after witnessing yours (from behind locked doors of course) decided the local news channel needed to be called? Perhaps your new neighbor is an ex-porn star?
    Never mind … forget the cookies and get her a robe. Leave it with a note that says “welcome to the neighborhood”.

  207. Wow. And I thought Philadelphia had high-quality crazy. This woman puts most of the loons here to shame. Maybe you could crush some stabilizing meds into the cookies?

  208. OK, first: we’re glad she had the foresight to get new blinds. Second: I’m one of those people who attracts eccentric but genuinely great people as well as raving lunatics into her life. I would probably knit her a pair of socks and leave it on the stoop. Anonymously.

  209. PLEASE update us on what this was all about as soon as possible! Check the news and papers every day until you find out! The movie listings, documentary films in the works, everything!

  210. Check out my blog tomorrow morning, and I’ll prove that people are strange all over the world.
    I’ll tell you about the guy who stopped his car right in the middle of Rt. 1, blocking a lane and got out and removed all his clothes, thereby blocking another lane.
    Plus anything else I can think of.
    I’m at work now, so I can’t do it until later.

  211. Wait. Was she *really* wearing gold shoes?? Was that literal or figurative? I have such an visual of all of this. LOL
    I’m sorry for your plight, but not being alone with crappy neighbor dilemmas is making me feel much better. Thanks to my neighbor, I now know my local sherriff on a first name basis.

  212. The part about fresh, unwilted lettuce and warm bread sounds great – the neighbors, well that makes me remember why I live ten miles from town on four acres of woods and can’t see anyone else’s house! Perhaps a video (not Disney) would be a better “welcome to the neighborhood” gift?
    Your posts always bring a smile…

  213. I lived on Vancouver Island for twelve years, and we had our share of oddballs and looneys there. I’ve seen some wacky people. But never anyone running around in pink panties and a seen-better-days bra. She sounds scary, but intriguing. Please keep us posted on any further developments, but be careful. And get yourself a pair of binoculars for spying.

  214. One stray thought on this one: I own a pair of gold shoes that my daughters talked me into for the wedding of the older one of them. I’ve never seen a good reason to wear them since; they are so not me (Birkis always!) But now I *know* they’re going to Goodwill!

  215. Get a good look? Look all you want?
    As if you could have looked away even if you wanted to.
    Hey, maybe you were on candid camera.

  216. And some people think that knitters have boring lives?! This seemed especially funny to me because soon after we moved into our seemingly quiet, blue-collar neighborhood in vermont, we were driving down the street at night, on our way home, and i saw a large woman walking slowly down the street COMPLETELY NAKED. i mentioned this to my husband, who didn’t believe me, so we turned around and went around the circle again–lo, i was right. she had walked to the corner and sat down on the ground by the bus stop. she looked like she might need some assistance (perhaps a wee bit too much wine after a steek didn’t go well…?), so we called the police. i wasn’t quite sure what to tell them, so i started with, “Umm, this may sound a bit odd, but there is a woman…” and the officer finished with, “yes, a naked woman walking down the street. a few neighbors have called already.” But really, the neighborhood has been quite tame since then. perhaps your neighbor was struggling with an error in a knitting pattern–we all know what that can do to a person! good luck!

  217. never a dull moment on your street, Steph,
    I suppose that you could always have a handy comment like “I was wondering where you purchased your lovely gold lame shoes”, ready for future encounters with her, yet somehow she might not believe you.

  218. ohmiDawg…that was the best! I say..walk on the other side of the street until you’re past her house–but carry a camera with a really long lens…Are you afraid one of your daughters will want a pair of gold shoes, too???????

  219. Of course I never want anything bad or dangerous to happen to our Stephanie, or her family — but I think that the poor neighbor woman is in great pain, although perhaps not aware of it now. I have concern for her as well.

  220. OK, so within hours of reading this yesterday, I was driving my 12 year old, Jennifer, somewhere (It was only yesterday, why can’t I remember where?) and we were talking about the talent show that was coming up at her school. She was going to do some gymnastics things. But she said she’d dropped out of the show. I asked her why, and her response was “I look stupid in a leotard.” Having watched her for the last year and a half at gymnastics, she doesn’t look any different from the other girls, and I told her so. She said “Mom, it’s like walking around in a bra and underwear. Who in their right mind would do that?” OK, so after I stopped laughing hysterically and almost drove us off the road, I told her this story about Stephanie’s lovely new neighbor. (Jen’s a knitter too, so she knew who Stephanie was immediately.) Anyway, at the end of the story, Jen said to me: “Mom, like I said, who in their RIGHT mind?”
    Nuff said.

  221. I’m schocked. I only thought that kind of stuff happened in the midwest after a tornado. And you know it always ends up on the TV.

  222. OMG! Your description is so vivid. Yikes – interesting addition to any neighbourhood.
    Where was your digital camera then eh? Apparently she doesn’t know she lives down the street from a blogger with a huge following. Maybe she would think twice about her rude behaviour – probably not though.
    Here I was thinking the name of your post was in reference to your grocery shopping!

  223. Stephanie –
    If you get this far down in the comments, please keep your daughters away from this house! Of course if you warn them they’ll be fascinated.
    My theory is either crazy, old porn star, or John Waters is filming in the neighborhood. With the cameras I’m voting on old porn star. She may be harmless but I’m a little worried about the guys with cameras. If it’s John Waters, I’m sure he’d hold the sock for a picture.

  224. Dear Lord! That sounds like a Jerry Springer moment. You have to find out what on earth was going on. And look on the bright side – at least it is grist for the mill of your blog.
    Katherine (Montreal)

  225. There goes the neighborhood! I sure hope it’s a rental. The way you describe her body shape sounds like she has a bit of a problem with alcohol. I’d say that the behavior backs that up…….. No cookies for her! But perhaps a brochure for a good psych ward??

  226. That reminds of a time when I saw a fairly well dressed woman pull down her pants and pee in a sidewalk grate. She pulled up her pants and came into the store where I was working at the time. She bought something and left. We talked about it for the rest of the day.

  227. We once had neighbours like that , two guys. One day I was out and the neighbour on the other side rushed up to me when I returned to tell me the T.V cameras had been everywhere ,reporters etc.The most “salubrious” had been found floatingin the Thames murdered in Marlow ( a very posh town close to mine).

  228. I am a male novice knitter/ quilter/ experienced embroiderer from Holland and currently reading your book Yarn Harlot. I find the chapters on buying and hiding not funny at all, because they are so true. I also have more material in the house than I can manage. More X stitch patterns and quilt books and linen, floss etc than I can ever put to use in this life. I recently saw a work of art that was a linen shroud WITH pockets, so people could put little mementoes in. Might be macabre this, but wouldn’t it be a comforting idea to take some wool, linen, floss or other hobby material with you? You could make a separate stash category for this ;)…

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