10.14.2014

Susan's son came home for the weekend.
He was exactly as she remembered him.

One of the ways they spent time together was while he drove her car & she sat shotgun. This was probably the least combative activity they shared. To be accurate there was not any actual combat involved, more like argumentative flare ups even though Susan tried mightily to keep a lid on such stuff. If Susan just let herself go and argued as much as she wanted no one would be left standing. That special behavior is reserved for the husband.

They agreed to compromise on a few points such as, she'll be less sensitive and he'll be more sensitive. That sounds like a recipe for success, right? Perhaps between two grown-ups it is but her son is a teenager with an undeveloped brain, which is always in evidence. She doesn't want to badmouth her kid with a list of examples even though this is her BLAHg and she can do what she wants, so she'll provide just one; Susan requested a small task be completed and it was not done even though she asked nicely, and he agreed, twice a day for three days. What Susan really wanted to say was get the f*ck up off your ass right now and go do it.

The time came to drive the 37 miles out to the ferry which would point her son in the direction of school. He still had wet laundry in the dryer which got stuffed into a bag adding unnecessary weight to what he already had to hump. He didn't mind, so neither did Susan.

The kid was hungry & they had no time to stop even though they just left a house filled with food. It wasn't Susan's problem, she wasn't hungry with an hour drive ahead of her. FYI: the only route is a local road with speed limits as low as 30 mph and sometimes you get stuck behind a tractor. Also, watch out for the deer!

Anyway, they arrived at the ferry in time to see it pull away meaning that he would also miss his train reservation. Not to worry, he could get another train for $97 instead of the $21 he paid. And now they had time to drive to the only place that was open and spend $19.40 on a gyro to go.

Susan didn't say a word about any of this, she paid the food bill then climbed back into her shotgun seat. She would have been able to hold her tongue if her son had not given her another in a series of smart-ass answers and then everything came out.

They ended with a mother's loving hug and assurance that she loved him. She watched him walk onto the ferry & sat there for as long as it took to call her husband and exhaust all her complaints about their firstborn. Then she drove home and watched a Marx Brothers movie.

10.07.2014

Susan hit a milestone last week when she mailed her first box of stuff up to the wrestler in sleep away college. The contents were totally utilitarian except for the squeaking motion sensor rat she tucked in as a little reminder that mommy misses him.

Initially getting her kid to maintain even the sparsest amount of contact proved impossible. She sought the council of others in her predicament and discovered that his behavior was pretty standard.

It didn't help her feel better.

She walked around sad all the time until he called her twice in one week because he needed something. Now she's used to the relaxed frequency of his communications and happily sustains their relationship through texts and two minute phone calls.

In the 37 days he's been out of her house Susan has found that whatever she puts in the fridge will still be there when she looks for it,  the bathroom no longer smells like pee, there are no 11 pm rides to satisfy his craving for bread & butter pickles, and she's accepted that he's living his own life away from her.

9.30.2014

Susan accompanied her Cousin Lisa to an early morning appointment in NYC. Before they headed out the door Cousin Lisa made Susan a cup of Cuban coffee with her colador, which she pronounced Tony Montana style.

A colador is essentially a gym sock employed to strain the grounds from brewed coffee. It resulted in a creamy wonderful brew that thrilled Susan particularly after Cousin Lisa added frothed milk and the teeniest dusting of cinnamon, all without fanfare, as if she prepared her coffee this way every morning. Which Susan assumes she does.

Once in the city, and after the conclusion of Cousin Lisa's appointment, the girls hot-footed it over to Central Park where they enjoyed an unusually warm autumn day chatting, listening to musicians play underneath bridge overpasses, watching a ghostly ballerina mime blow theatrical kisses, sitting in the shade near the bandshell while athletic dudes did flips and jumps, observing of all manner of people including a dirty fella making five foot long bubbles & a midget in a dark suit strolling by with his luggage on a roller cart.

Susan was keen on visiting the Bethesda fountain where they encountered this duo and their beautiful Tribal Baroque:


Here's the wonderful BETHESDA FOUNTAIN:

And BETHESDA TERRACE with its lovely architecture, tiled ceiling and acoustics:

 
And the iconic BAND SHELL donated by Elkan Naumburg, inside of which a bride & groom were being photographed:

Eventually it was time to go home.
As the girls exited the park they stopped at the GROM gelato truck where Cousin Lisa chose a pistachio gelato and Susan enjoyed the most refreshingly tart and sweet limone sorbet.

Three blocks up Cousin Greg was waiting to chauffeur them home.

Ed note: In 1983 Susan and her little sister attended a Hare Krishna luncheon at the band shell in which they were served food ladled from lined trash cans. Susan got indigestion.


9.27.2014

Susan couldn't let twenty years go by without some sort of a celebratory observance so she whipped herself up a party with a minimal amount of planning.

There were LOBSTERS

And SISTERS
And DAUGHTERS
And FIRE!
And COUSINS

All for THESE TWO

The party got a little white trash when there wasn't enough room for all the guests, beverages & food, and Susan left out a few details like appetizers, forks & cream for the coffee. But, the bathrooms were clean, the ice bucket was filled, Cousin Melissa constructed a fantastic goat cheese and fig appetizer onsite and everyone appeared to muddle through. There was even a little theatrical presentation when Susan challenged the husband with 'You wanna fight? I'll fight you in front of everybody!'
Ultimately there was no fight, instead there was flourless chocolate cake with raspberry whipped cream, blueberry cheesecake and goodie bags.

9.18.2014

Susan and the husband have been manacled together in wedded harmony for twenty years.
Weren't they the sh*t back in 1994?

To commemorate this jubilee Susan attempted to dig out their wedding album, which she has come across within the last year or so, but not on this day. She did find her collection of RSVP cards on which her guests wrote little personal notes or doodles along with their will attends.

The old married couple spent the day in Sag Harbor enjoying dockside cocktails and lobster rolls, American flags, old architecture, hydrangeas, dogs, cemeteries, churches and a Drive Slowly Duck Crossing sign on the way out of town.





  






















Susan and the husband spent a pretty nice day together punctuated by a wee skirmish or two, if asked she'd rate it a 7 out of 10.

9.15.2014

One of these filthy fellas is Susan's absent son, the college wrestler.

9.11.2014

9.05.2014

Both Susan's children are back in school however only one of them still lives in the house with her.

Susan did not accompany her son and his belongings up to sleep away college largely because she was not invited. He gave her a big hug and promised to keep in touch every day, then he abandoned her for the ferry ride that would take him off to the first day of the rest of his life.

Susan knows that past performance absolutely indicates future results and her son will be spotty with the communication. In the five days he's been on his own he's called her three times, all after receiving multiple texts from both parents to CALL YOUR MOTHER.

Susan now knows how her own ignored mom feels.

In the days that he's been gone it's almost a relief for Susan to do his chores herself instead of engaging in multiple pleading sessions related to when he will do them. She'll delegate what she can but the available personnel in her house is very limited.

Susan's children are the result of her best effort. Every drop of maternal patience, attention and insight were wrung from her until there was nothing left at the end of each day. Every night she prayed for guidance and every morning she awoke with refreshed enthusiasm. She's sure there are others who have done a better job and have better kids, but she's standing by the two she turned out.

8.26.2014

Susan got stung by a wasp twice in less than a minute. Ow! Ow!
As she was being attacked by a swarm of two or fewer wasps she used her awesome shrieking powers in combination with a crazy dual arm protective flailing motion while running away.

Susan's never been stung by anything except skeeters. It may have been payback for an earlier incident in which she murdered a family of wasps. Who knows. She ended up smashing this one too.

Beware wasps! You have now made an enemy of Susan.

8.24.2014

Susan was bewitched by this photograph of a raw vegan carrot cake from This Rawsome Vegan Life and made it even though she knew no one in her family would eat it.
Other than Susan's cake not being quite as tall, nor all tarted up with pecans and pumpkin seeds, it looked exactly the same.

Her son the wrestler flat out refused to try it telling her you lost me at vegan. The daughter took a forkful then just ate the icing. The husband surprised Susan by eating his whole slice declaring it flavorful but sweet.

Susan thinks her cake more closely resembled a chewy lemon-carrot-coconut cheesecake, although the only thing it had to do with cheesecake was that it must stay refrigerated.

She chopped off a quarter of the cake and took it along to her friend Sharon's, submitting it for an opinion. Sharon took a bite, then another, said she liked it but Susan's going to check her fridge next time she's over and see if it's still in there.

Two days later Susan served a piece to her little sister, who ate it concurrently with a slice of German apple cake to balance the sweetness. Susan applauds her strategy of eating two pieces of cake because one was too sweet.

8.22.2014

This is Susan's unemployment office. If she's home sitting on her ass, here's where she does it.

From this seat she listens to the birds singing, the leaves whispering with the summertime breeze, helicopters ferrying folks out to the Hamptons and her children declaring that there's no food in the house. Most recently this is where she pedicured herself, had an 84 minute conversation with her parents then figured out how to get a picture from her phone over to her laptop.
All important undertakings.

Susan calculated that today is her 46th day of unemployment. Running the household minus her former paycheck has guaranteed a sour temperament from the housebound daughter. So, Susan took her out to two local towns with main streets. Susan loves towns with main streets! Please notice how she ended that sentence with an exclamation point to emphasize how serious she is.

The first town they visited is where Susan attends her Department of Labor workshops. At first glance it seemed promising, but other than a coffee house with ample seating & an adorable but overpriced natural food store, there was not much to hold the girls' interest so they took a pretty drive along a secondary road to the next town, which is also home to a wonderful famous person.

The second town had a tight little main street filled with gently worn clapboard facades. The girls went in to a tiny, fragrant & friendly health food store where Susan chatted up the owner and spent an extravagant $7.29 on a box of lemon, ginger and mankuna honey tea along with a bar of African Black Soap chosen by the daughter. They went around the corner to an even teenier little ice cream parlor & candy shop where Susan observed a seventy-ish woman walk over from the beauty parlor still adorned with the protective cape and head filled with hair dye. The woman handed over a small package of chocolate covered graham crackers to the teenage cashier as repayment for a two dollar debt loaned earlier in the day. She said the crackers were a favorite when she was a girl. Turning to leave she pulled out a banana, held it up to hear ear like a telephone and instructed I told you never to call me when I was in the ice cream parlor then walked out the door.
Susan would kill for that sort of neighbor at home.

Their final stop was to the United Methodist thrift shop a little farther down the block. This is a fave of Susan's because she always manages to dig deep enough to unearth something neat. Her most magically inspired purchase was probably fifteen years earlier when Aunt Eileen sent Susan out to locate a ceramic coffee filter holder for her friend Linda. You sit it on a coffee cup, fit it with a paper filter, fill it with ground coffee & pour boiling water over it for a single cup of fresh coffee. Susan said she would keep her eyes peeled for such a thing and then found it that same week at the UM thrift shop. For a quarter.

Susan ended the day by almost throwing up in public. She may delve more deeply into that later, but not now.

8.16.2014

Susan had a full day yesterday.
It started with another in a series of fights with her daughter over nonsense, and by nonsense she means passive aggressive bullsh*t instigated by a sixteen year old because of who knows why, certainly not Susan.

The fight sucked up a lot of energy so Susan took a shower, made some snacks for later, accompanied her pal Sharon to purchase white paint, cleaned ants out of her cupboards, then attended a Tupperware party hosted by Aunt Barbara.

Here's Aunt Barbara:
She's a sassy lady and the top seller of plastic crap in the northeast
Aunt Barbara's also a little near-sided because she mistook Susan for Julianne Moore.



















Sorry Susan's real Aunt Eileen and Aunt Maryann, you're out. Barbara's her new fave.

Ed. note: Susan's friend Sharon would like it noted that the ants were cleaned out of Susan's cupboard, not Sharon's. Sharon feels that point was not clearly made back in paragraph two.

8.13.2014

"You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”

8.12.2014

Little sister remarked recently that Susan likes to hibernate. Can Susan help it if she enjoys being home? That's where all her stuff is. She likes getting out and going places too but she can be just as happy having nothing to do.

During periods of personal financial constraint it's good that Susan likes to stay home and do nothing. Of course, she doesn't really do nothing, but it's usually such a low-impact something that it's often mistaken for nothing.

Today she baked real bread with yeast then used a long neglected pint of heavy cream to make butter. Some funny people she knows inquired (a) if she had milked something for the butter and (b) if she were wearing a bonnet.

Susan was all set to enjoy her first attempt at fresh bread, however that's not what she made. The daughter suggested it was similar to a project her brother completed in middle school; an inedible wartime biscuit made of flour & salt. The kid was right.

8.07.2014

Susan and her daughter went out to the Parrish Art Museum in Watermill, that's Hamptons traffic, guys. Summer traffic.

Susan was all excited because Maya Lin had two geographical installations exhibited, it didn't make much difference that they were both like eh, Susan's still a fan. During the magical time when Susan worked in NYC she showed countless people Maya's overhead clock in Penn Station.
Anyway, here are Maya Lin's contributions:
 
On the way in Susan drove right past these two Roy Lichtenstein sculptures:
The museum is grandly simple in style with wood post, beam & truss construction (she looked that up), big windows, poured concrete walls, a mod restroom and tight little gift shop.
Be good or you'll have to sit outside on the concrete bench:

Susan adored this Louise Nevelson composition of wooden junk painted black, her daughter did not:
 Susan also liked this six foot tall silkscreen by Chuck Close:
The BIG lemon by Donald Sultan:
And this nerdy lithograph by Alex Katz:
During their trip Susan and her daughter established an unalterable rule: they must never be in each other's company while hungry.

Lastly, Susan remembers this as a teenager, click HERE.

8.02.2014

Susan and her daughter took Lucy the pitbull for a walk on the beach.
You see those sandy overgrown cliffs filled with poison ivy? That's how they got up and down. Please note that's just the bottom half in the picture. Nonetheless, it was a lovely solitary walk and a strenuous uphill climb on a gray summer day.

Susan hasn't been doing anything exciting this summer, certainly nothing crazy like going on a vacation, but she's been making ice pops like her life depended on it.
Ice pops, ice pops, ice pops!
She bought a nice Zoku pop mold and immediately got inspired to use coconut milk and mango, then she added herbs.  Unfortunately the black bean chocolate fudgesicle didn't go over very well with the family but she got back on track with fig jam & yogurt pops and blueberry, cardamom & cream from the people's pops cookbook. And, how come no one ever told Susan about Coco Lopez? It's like a can of thick, sweet coconut heaven.

Other than making ice pops, Susan's also been watching Orange Is The New Black with her son, planning equally economical activities with her daughter, slaving away at her resume and following the deterioration of Bey & Jay's marriage.

7.26.2014

Susan and her family went to the Brooklyn Museum to observe the daughter's 16th birthday. Originally the kid didn't want to do anything but she changed her mind because she's been there before and "they have a good gift shop".


They had some pretty neat stuff in there, like Kara Walker's silhouettes:
Susan was delighted to find some paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe:
Both she and her kids liked this installation by Swoon:

How about this cheeky painting of The Sculptor :
And his neighbor, this lady:
And this fella:
And then she liked all this stuff too:

 

And lastly, this thing which was made entirely from corn kernels and corn byproducts: