Susan was all prepared to write about her resolutions for the new year, or more accurately about how she's still categorizing them by personality flaw because there's too many to choose from.

She's definitely got to cut down on her beloved sugary sweets now that cookie season is on the way out.

She's also going to consider how often she's been drinking. Not about how much, just about how often.

Anyway, Susan was seated at the dining room table, poised over the laptop, thinking her thoughts when the most HORRIBLEST thing in the world happened. The daughter came in to the room and was immediately invited to sit on Susan's lap for a little snuggly hug. In doing so her ungainly pre-teen body knocked Susan's glass of sangria all over the laptop.
All over the laptop!

Susan beat at her chest and tore out her hair but neither helped. She flipped the laptop over in an attempt to have gravity pull the sticky poison away from the works then went to tattle to the husband on the Laptop Killer.

Everyone in the house just stood around in disbelief, staring at the upside down laptop, waiting. And if this weren't bad enough, that was the last of the sangria.


Susan found herself in the supermarket early on Sunday morning. She had originally intended to be in church at that time but due to a month long absence she was not aware of the new holiday schedule and pulled in to an empty parking lot. No matter, she'd put her time to good use by standing on a line with onions, sugar, anisette extract, the papers and hair product.
While she waited Susan noticed a mature woman a few aisles over engaged in an animated conversation with the cashier. Nothing crazy, just animated. The woman was facing away from Susan but she appeared to be trim and neat in her holiday themed sweater, little hoop earrings and styled hair. Good for her, Susan likes to see when her suburban sisters take a few moments to put themselves together. Eventually the woman turned around so Susan could see that her chin was directly underneath her nose because she had forgotten her teeth.
She combed her hair, chose an outfit and put in her earrings but not her teeth.


Last year Susan made it through Christmas while being unemployed. She had help from a girlfriend who hired Susan to do office work and then organize her house.
And they only fought once.
This year Susan is back to full time employment but the recession made sure that the husband sees no payday, which is bad because he's the breadwinner. So, they're out on the high wire until things pick up.

In the meantime, except for her children and her three nieces, any person she has ever bought presents for in the past has been slashed from the list. There'll be none for little sister, none for cousin Lisa, none for her friends,
none for the husband, none for her next door neighbors.
None for anybody.

Christmas morning Susan and her little sister's family always meet for breakfast. Forget about it this year, even the price of eggs at a diner is not in the budget.

Susan had previously told the kids that they'd be getting only one gift this year and they'd better choose judiciously.

The morning before Christmas, coinciding with the availability of Susan's paycheck, the husband went out to purchase each child's solitary gift. He was done by 9 am. Did Susan mention that they both wanted the same thing? It's handheld, electronic and not at all shabby, so don't feel bad for them. Feel bad for Susan because she's not getting sh*t except the bottle of wine that she purchased on the way home from work. That, and the knowledge that she pulled Christmas out of her ass for a second year in a row. Hooray for her!

Happy Christmas everybody.


The other day Susan was reading Vanessa's blog, wondering how anyone in the universe could possibly enjoy anything about Disney when she spied bedjump.com and had a childhood flashback.

Susan, her little sister and Wild Bill were forced to endure a vacation with their parents every summer, mostly it was places they could drive to like Mystic Seaport or D.C. or Colonial Williamsburg. Every once in a while they got on a plane, but not on this occasion.

Susan's family was on vacation somewhere with cousin Lisa's family, the only thing she can recall is that cousin Andrew was allowed to bring a friend. Susan's parents would never have brought another kid along with them on vacation. Ever. Even if it was a well behaved kid like Jesus or one of President Obama's girls.

Anyway, Cousin Lisa's family and Susan's family had adjoining motel rooms connected by a door. Susan and her siblings were in bed for the night when their mother opened the door and Susan saw into the next room.
Her cousins and their guest were jumping on the bed!
Jumping and laughing as if they were the happiest children in the world, which of course they were because they were jumping on the bed!

Susan felt like she had just glimpsed an alternate universe, one she would never know.


3 pm on a snowy Sunday is one of the reasons Susan did her best to keep a lid on her alcoholic tendencies in her twenties and halfway through her thirties.
Susan and liquor were an enthusiastic couple and she wanted them to be together for the long haul, not just flare up and die out like many of her contemporaries.
To this end Susan maintained all sorts of rules to stay in control; she observed a pre-determined drink maximum, was a practitioner of six months on the wagon and six months off and employed a buddy system. When she wasn't strictly following her rules she was getting drunk as often as she could without missing work and then going to sleep on the kitchen floor.

Susan had a lazy weekend of playing in the snow, baking chocolate biscotti with cranberries, green cleaning two bathrooms top to bottom, hosting a girlie sleepover and discovering that her Fuckleupagus of a son remained a lazy liar. By 3pm Sunday Susan was ready to transform an unpleasant bottle of red wine into a cold, sweet and tarty pitcher of sangria.

Just in time for holiday guests Susan would like to share her recipe for CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teasp baking soda
1/2 teasp baking powder
1/2 teasp salt
6 tblsp butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup dried cranberries, Susan chops them up a bit
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix together dry ingredients.
Beat butter & sugar till smooth then beat in the eggs.
Mix in dry ingredients till blended.
Fold in cranberries.
Divide dough in half, shape each into a 12 inch long log, 1/2 inch thick.
Place on a buttered, wax paper lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Let cool completely.
Slice into 1/2 inch thick cookies, stand them up on the baking sheet & bake for 15 minutes.
Makes 38-48 cookies depending upon how thinly you slice them.


Susan walked downstairs to put something away in the guest room closet and was immediately met by a foul yet familiar smell.
She saw that the door to the guest room was open. Susan has previously expressed her preference that it remain shut when no one is bunking there.
Susan took a few steps in and gasped.
Dog poop!
She went back upstairs and looked at Lucy who was already in full-on cowering mode; head down, tail curled between her legs, slinking away toward the back of the couch.
Susan rubbed the top of Lucy's head then set about gathering supplies to clean the poop from the cheap area rug that was mistaken for a toilet. Halfway through Susan had a better idea, she rolled the rug up & handed it over to the culprit who left both the basement and guest room doors open last night.
The daughter took it outside and left it with the garbage.


Susan has fallen into a pit of lethargy.
After two weeks the husband peered over the edge and requested that she start behaving like everything's normal. Bake something he said.
They're both exhausted from having no cash for an extended period of time and neither has done any Christmas shopping. The husband strung colored lights in the windows a while back but that was it, no internal seasonal decorating has been done, including no tree. Susan likes having no tree, she didn't have one last year and Christmas still managed to trip up the front steps and fall into the house.

Susan has been letting the incoming Christmas cards pile up on the table, she doesn't care about them.
She's not mailing any out either.
Boxes of decorations have been stacked on top of each other since last weekend when the daughter asked that they be brought up from the basement.
The thought of decorations gives Susan a headache, oy.

Anyway, a week before Christmas Susan cracks open the boxes, pulls out some stuff and decorates the fireplace mantel. She hangs a bunch of sparkly things from the ceiling. She plugs in the little light up Santa that she bought at a yard sale in Maine. She likes the little Santa.
She can live with this much.


I wouldn't mind if you missed us
and lobbed your trees and tinsel and elves
at someone else.

The cheer, oh dear
Feel free to disappear
don't forget the grab bag and the reindeer.

Cross me off your list
I insist,
No cards or gifts
Lest I get pissed.

I abhor
Carolers at my door
Douse them with the eggnog
Until they remain more.

O Christmas tree
O Christmas tree,
bite me.


Susan had the sort of weekend that only comes 52 times in a year. It began Friday after dinner when she and the daughter made sugar cookies. Susan's daughter is now old enough to do many things almost completely on her own while Susan drinks a glass of wine and reads the paper. Like any good team Susan filled in where the daughter was weak, in this case it was with making sure some of the cookies got burned.

Saturday morning Susan helped a chicken keep her job by purchasing some eggs from a girl who knocked on the door. Not long ago Susan had seen this girl's family out in the street chasing chickens, it never dawned on Susan as she watched the silliness of the scene that she might have chickens as neighbors.
In the afternoon, and under protest, the daughter accompanied Susan to the thrift store where her expression alternated between looking as if she were smelling something rancid and absolute misery before allowing her mother to puchase a purple hooded sweatshirt. The day ended with Acme Sweatshop's holiday party where Susan drank three glasses of champagne and managed to say not one stupid thing all night long.

Sunday morning Susan and the daughter took their mutt Lucy for a long walk around the neighborhood. It was a lovely pre-winter walk, just cold and gray and empty enough to be enjoyable. When they got home Susan washed the last of the dog shelter smell off Lucy then hugged and kissed her enough for two dogs,
the other being her recently deceased boxer.

After dinner Susan submitted to the daughter's badgering and dragged out the Christmas decorations. Oy, is it really time for Christmas again? Susan is never in the mood for Christmas. Never. She doesn't even understand why anyone even needs Christmas, aren't Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve enough? But, she will admit to loving Christmas music, the bigger and churchier the better. Choirs of angels? Yes, please.
Twelve more days till Christmas and Susan hasn't purchased a single present although she came close when she found a light up Infant of Prague in the thrift store, she reconsidered when she thought it might scare the recipient instead.
Christmas. Sweet baby Jesus, help Susan get through it!


Susan's family's new used dog is a pit bull mix named Lucy.
Lucy was pretty low key and not much of a tail wagger her first night, it probably had something to do with the big shaved patch & row of stitches near her lady area.
However, when Susan's little sister's family came over with dog cookies Lucy revealed herself to be a humper.
She smelled like a dog pound dog so Susan dipped a washcloth into warm water mixed with a little bit of dog shampoo and gave her a sponge bath. Later on Lucy rolled herself into a ball on the couch next to Susan and they watched Dogville Shorts on Turner Classic Movies.

Susan wonders how anyone could have passed by her lovely little Lucy in her cage at the shelter without taking her home.


Susan went to the thrift store this afternoon and waited her turn for the dressing room. Ahead of her was an older woman with no top on digging through a shopping cart filled with clothes. She was wearing a pink brassiere but she was no Madonna. Maybe a Svetlana. The dressing rooms are right in the middle of the store, not in the back or tucked into a corner, so people are walking by. Svetlana's husband came out wearing a pair of pants pulled up to his ears, she offered her opinion on the fit, they chatted back & forth but her missing top didn't seem to be an issue. So, it wasn't an issue for Susan either,
she was just waiting to try on an armload of slacks.


All week long Susan and her kids counted off the days until they could bring their new used dog home from the animal shelter. Susan cleared her normally empty schedule and resisted the urge to personally tell everyone she knew that she was getting a dog because she knows how boring it is when she has to listen to other people talk about their dogs.

Like a prospective boyfriend she imagined them cuddling on the couch, going for walks, sharing secrets and just generally being in love.

She also wondered if it was a mistake to hastily choose just any dog the first time they went out. I mean, they only spent like ten minutes with the dog, how is that any way to pick a companion for the next ten years? OMG, and the dog is part pit bull, Susan's family doesn't even like pit bulls for crap sake. What has she done? She wants her sweet boxer back, not this rabid mongrel that she got from the pound. There's probably a good reason why it was there in the first place and now Susan's going to bring it into her house, give it a cute girly name and pray it doesn't kill anyone. OMG, and what if it chews her table legs or shreds her couches or digs up her yard?
Susan doesn't feel good.

Anyway, the dog wasn't spayed this week so she won't be ready for the family to pick up until Tuesday. Drats.


Susan still thinks she sees her previously alive dog in the house. She walks into the livingroom and habit makes her look to the spot where the dog used to lie. A chenille blanket bunched up in a corner of the couch tricks her for a second. She still closes the bathroom door to keep the dog from drinking out of the toilet and maneuvers around the large plastic bin holding her food in the laundry room. The husband reports to hear the dog walking through the house in the morning. Mercifully, no one smells the dog.

Susan's not a grief purist & didn't think she needed to wait an appropriate amount of time before she allowed another dog into the house. She views the situation more simply; her family needs a dog and they found a dog who needs to live somewhere other than a cage. It's like a Hallmark card, one that bites.


Susan enjoyed writing a post a day for a month, she totally didn't think she had it in her and suprised herself with the results. Unfortunately, the time it took to write them each day came directly from her personal marital budget, a point made once or twice by the husband. She appreciates his support and will make it up to him in December. Goodbye, NaBloPoMo.


On day twenty nine Susan hosted a family party while in a bad mood.
Last month Susan's aunt Eileen mentioned that she hadn't seen her brother, Susan's father, in a long time. Susan knows that once her folks make it to her basement they don't like to go anywhere so Susan invited her aunt to come out for a visit. Susan's aunt was happy and so was Susan because she likes having company.

Little by little the guest list grew until Susan started to feel a little panicky. But, Susan loves her aunt & uncle and all her cousins so she set her panic aside and cleaned the house. Susan's regular TWISTED mood has really been messed up recently by her job at Acme Sweatshop and by her dead dog, but she pours a glass of wine and does the best she can.

Susan looked forward to the party and everything was great until she heard her guests laughing and enjoying themselves, then she nose-dived. It was ridiculous that the sound of happiness bugged her so much, but it did. She had to remove herself a few times; walking outside with a cigar to talk to her neighbor as he hung Xmas lights, retreating to her room to read an old New Yorker or just taking a bunch of potty breaks.

Susan couldn't wait for her guests to leave and little by little they did until only her little sister's family and cousin Lisa remained. Then Susan relaxed.


Susan's family went to the town animal shelter today. They set up rules to help establish the type of dog they wanted and the type they didn't, then they all had to agree in order to bring anything home.

Susan completed a form, submitted her ID then they all waited to be escorted through the kennels. Susan recognized one of the Animal Safety officers from two summers ago when she was unsuccessful in finding the owner of an old dog wandering her neighborhood.
Back then Susan chatted up the Animal Safety officer about her job, today she just smiled at her.

Susan loved looking at all the dogs jumping and barking and wagging their tails, oy, they were loud. She wanted to hug and kiss every one of them, except for the ones that scared her. Most were pit bull mixes, the breed that Susan's family was not interested in. However, they asked to see a new mom who was picked up as a pregnant stray during the summer. The staff member had a hard time hanging on to the leash as mom went around the room smelling everything in sight. They left emptyhanded,
as Susan expected.

The family ran a few errands on the way to the next shelter including returning the son's winter jacket purchased by the husband a day earlier. Susan mentions this only as a way to tell everyone how ridiculous it was for the husband to authorize the jacket in the first place because it was a glorified sweatshirt and would never keep the kid warm in anything colder than a sunny autumn day. Thanks to Susan's intervention he now has a jacket that will keep out the rain, snow and wind chill.

The next animal shelter was much smaller and looser than the first, Susan's family walked unescorted anywhere they wanted. There were approximately 20 dogs, some cats, peacocks, chickens and a rooster to choose from.
The chickens were able to fly over a 5 foot fence and jump up into the trees. So, while chickens were sitting in trees, peacocks were strutting the parking lot and a rooster was crowing Susan's family found a dog.
She'll be ready next Saturday.


Susan started NaBloPoMo by working out her posts a day ahead of schedule so that she posted at midnight for the next day. Now, she's left herself less than an hour for the current day, plus she's tired, plus she's got no good ideas and she wishes she had something on which she could rest her feet.

Susan's family is going out this weekend to look for a dog, her rotten kids don't want another boxer so Susan will let them pick out what they want as long as it fits within her criteria; medium to large, short hair, calm disposition and female. Her old dog. Susan can't imagine another dog in her house, she'll be interested to see what they end up with.

Oh, Dr. Bob sent the family a sympathy card.

Here's a joke courtesy of her old man:
A ham sandwich walks into a bar and the bartender sez
I'm sorry, we don't serve food here.


Oy, Susan's stomach hurts.
She stayed away from anything requiring a stick of butter like stuffing and smashed potatoes, and the shrimp mousse was just a smudge on the platter by the time she found it. Susan observed a two drink maximum and only had one slice of pumpkin cheesecake although she may have eaten the remnants off of two or three other plates.
Susan believes that her friends the vegetables did her in. She's really not too familiar with the brussel sprouts, it's only the second time they've been invited to the house and she's considering them with great suspicion.
Susan was wondering how much trouble it would be to install a vomitorium.


Right now Susan is thankful for;
food made with sugar
modern plumbing
The Onion
Euphoria by Calvin Klein
that Pearl Jam song
McSorley's Irish Black Lager
her fireplace
supermarkets that stay open late
Dr. Bob
and all her bloggy pals who gave Susan hugs & kisses
Happy Thanksgiving, guys.


Susan's dog went to Heaven on day twenty four.

The regular veterinarian, who Susan allowed to inspect the dog only when absolutely necessary, wanted an outrageous sum to put her down. The last time Susan's dog required this vet's services it cost Susan over eight hundred dollars, half when Susan left the dog, the other half when she picked her up. They sucked the money from Susan's check in less time than it took her to write it out, then they handed it back to her.
Here, take it with you and go.
Anyway, they weren't getting her dog now.

Susan's dog went to nice Dr. Bob who took his time and helped deliver her to the afterlife gently, without pickpocketing her owners. Susan's daughter was very sad and sniffly so Susan cheered her up by saying 'pull my finger' then took her into the kitchen to bake some anisette toast.


Day twenty three and Susan is shot;
she's tired, short on time, unhappy at work and her dog has stopped all meaningful interaction.

Susan's parents arrived late in the evening to begin a week of sleeping in her basement, she tried to recruit them into taking the dog to the killers, but they were having none of it.

Susan anticipates she'll be doing alot of anxiety related baking and she started with cranberry orange bread.


Susan and her daughter shared a bar of dark chocolate laced with chili and now that's all that either of them can think about. The chili provided no flavor, only a wonderful sensation of heat in the back of the throat which crept slowly across the tongue until the entire mouth was jumping up and down.
Susan wasted no time in recreating this treat at home in the form of a brownie. Brownies are Susan's go-to dessert, she buys ten boxes of mix at a time whenever they're on sale. She's eaten brownies made from scratch but she doesn't like the texture and they give her indigestion. She's always looking to substitute a portion of the oil with a healthier lubricant like applesauce or black beans, she's not always successful. Today she added 1.25 teaspoons of cayenne pepper into the mix and reduced the oil in half by substituting a 1/4 cup of pumpkin.
The pumpkin cayenne brownies were perfection.
Just enough heat and the pumpkin made them more cake-like than dense.
They're on the Thanksgiving menu.


Except for her little sister, Cousin Lisa and sometimes her mother Susan doesn't like to talk on the telephone.
She never sez Call me! because she doesn't want you to.

She hates it when the phone rings in her house & hates it even more when it's for her. And the cell phone? What a pain it is to hold that thing up to her ear for anything longer than Hello. Pick up milk? OK. Goodbye.

In her absence the husband has been instructed to inform her callers only that she'll be told they called, nothing else. Similarly, family or friends who encounter anyone inquiring after Susan's phone number are not permitted to provide it.

Susan likes her communications to be conducted in person and when that's not possible she doesn't mind writing them down. E-mail and Susan go perfectly together, she writes when she has time and everyone answers when they have time. She finds texting very effective for keeping in touch with Wild Bill and she likes to write letters, although she doesn't hand write them anymore. She will hand write short notes and sometimes draws a little picture of her face complete with red hair if she's got a red pen. Forget about cards, they're not even on her radar, the only ones she sends are to the husband's old aunties for Xmas. She doesn't twitter because who cares and she doesn't IM because typing out her conversations in real time is insane.

Lastly, Even though she's got a Facebook page it drives her nuts with all the misspellings, LOLs and exclamation points!!!! OMG!!!!! She's got it set so that nobody can find her.


This post is a total cop out because Susan was left unprepared for day twenty.
Susan had another in a series of brutal f*cking days at Acme Sweatshop which has left her wondering if she'll be a sweatshop seamstress for much longer.
After work she went out by herself to the mall where she was stunned to find that some of her favorite stores are now selling absolute crap.
Ann Taylor LOFT she's talking about you.
When the mall kicked Susan out & turned off their lights she popped into the Big Chain Book Store to buy her favorite expensive decorating magazine then headed for home. On the way Susan returned her pal Cyndi's phone call (yes, she really spells it that way). Susan enjoyed the private time with her friend so much she continued the conversation while sitting in her driveway even though the family kept coming outside to interrupt. She ate a bowl of cereal at 11pm for dinner and crawled into bed with the laptop where she started working on day twenty but she realized that she'd never finish it on time so she's substituting this one.


The last two mornings Susan had a little meltdown as she left the house for work. Neither was created in a vacuum, the husband's mouth was present.
Yesterday's explosion was immediate, and it only took a little nudge. Today's was just as quick and ended with Susan throwing a banana.
In each case the cause of the argument wasn't really significant except for the one where the husband started a conversation then lost interest when it was Susan's turn to talk.
Banana incoming!


Susan forgot to tell her everyone about something that made her LOL back on day twelve;
an Xmas tree already lit up in someone's livingroom window.
She hopes you don't feel cheated but this is Susan's offering for day eighteen.
She'll see you tomorrow.


Day 17 finds Susan making Deb's spaghetti squash.
She hasn't tasted it yet because the squash is still resting but the husband has already declared that it 'smells good'. That's because butter, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne and seasoned salt smell good.
Susan's low on enthusiasm and ideas tonight. She's been having a devil of a time at her job as a sweatshop seamstress and still feels as though she might have a f*cking heart attack at any moment if she doesn't have a f*cking stroke first.
Susan also wants to climb into her big soft bed and stare into space as soon as she can.
Susan can't think of anything funny to type.

(Courage was kind of funny)
What's the frequency, Kenneth?


Susan would love to read a book again.
She used to read them. In fact she read so many books during her four hours on the train each day that she carried a back up book just in case. By the time she stopped commuting she was a little burnt out and took a vacation from reading. She still had the newspaper and magazines but they were different, so she started reading in the car while waiting for her son outside Tae Kwon Do
or during her daughter's guitar lessons
or while both kids were on the soccer field.
She read on the potty, while her family picked out their Xmas tree and while people had conversations with her. Obviously, if they were going to talk to her while she was reading they didn't care if she paid attention, so she kept reading. When she fell down the rat hole of unemployment she turned on the computer and read everything she had ever bookmarked which led her in all sorts of other directions including into the blogosphere.
Then she got a job and hasn't had time for anything with a binding and a title in months.
She knows she's pretty maxed out with obligations during the week, but maybe she can begin by squeezing an hour each Saturday & Sunday for a book.
She's going to think about what she's in the mood for.


When Susan was in her twenties the normal frustrations of life would inspire some pretty immature behavior; she might throw her keys from one side of a restaurant dining room to the other, flip her chair over at work, engage in shoving matches with her sister or chase after cars that cut her off. The last one resulted in a few hairy confrontations including having a man come after her with a two by four and another threaten to take her middle finger from one place and put it in another. Susan has grown into a mature wife and mother who can hardly believe she used to act that way, but she knows that she did because she was there.

She figures that you're all thinking, but didn't she just stick her middle finger up at a guy yesterday? And you're correct, but that's not her normal behavior or wouldn't you have read about it by now?

Susan still loves to yell, scream and throw things but not at strangers, she saves that behavior for her family because she's just civilized that way. She combats the frustrating minutiae of her life by banging furiously at a keyboard cranking out TWISTED Susan posts day after day after day. Her modest fan base is right there with her letting her know she's not alone.

Day fifteen for anyone who's counting.
Susan is.


Susan took her daughter out early on Saturday morning to run errands. They started at We Do It All Dental Care where Susan saw the b*tchy office c*nt again, and ended in the food store. Susan prefers one food store while the husband likes another, Susan was closer to the husband's so that's where she went. His food store was good for some things but not for others. For example, Susan stocked up on vegetables, canned tomatoes and spices but couldn't find acceptable toilet paper or laundry detergent.

Susan's daughter likes to push the shopping cart, which is fine by Susan because she prefers to be up on point scouting the aisle. The aisles are smaller than Susan's regular store and the patrons think nothing of cutting each other off without so much as a neighborly smile or a nod. Not the worst thing in the world, but Susan thought it rude. Susan and her daughter were navigating a turn into the soda aisle to pick up Susan's seltzer but were blocked by a store employee stocking shelves. He had a movable hand cart, sort of like the thing they transported Hannibal Lecter around on, filled with boxes. Susan said 'Excuse me' then waited for him to respond. Which he didn't. She knew that he heard her because she was standing immediately behind him and spoke clearly and in his native language.
Susan moved the cart herself as the store employee turned and gave her a look. 'This is what I meant by excuse me' she said, educating him to how he failed the small task she gave him. She turned her back and continued toward the seltzer, then spun around to give him the finger. She was happy when he caught her.


Susan rubbed elbows with a room full of emerging artists last night. Elbows and feet and rear ends, it was very crowded. The eldest of Susan's three nieces is in sleep away art school and was one of a group chosen to have their work exhibited in a gallery. Susan and her little sister's family went to the reception and had a lot of fun trying to maneuver from one side of the room to the other in order to see everything.

Susan's favorite was a pyramid shaped mixed media piece illuminated from within, sort of like an extroverted diorama. It was a collection of everything from horseshoe crabs to dolls heads, framed photographs, painted beer bottles & little boxes filled with Susan couldn't even see what. Susan also liked a very detailed collage, acrylic and painted panel on canvas which she got ample opportunity to admire while waiting her turn for the toilet. Of course she liked her niece's contribution, two panels screwed directly into the gallery wall that made Susan think of a colorful Guernica. Susan will admit to not liking everything her niece does, but what she likes she usually really likes.

In densely packed crowds Susan prefers never to mingle without alcohol but this evening she resisted the wine and was all over the thick chunks of dark chocolate served alongside cheese, fruit and pink frosted donuts.

One memorable moment came when Susan's niece introduced her to a tall blonde who extended her hand and informed Susan of her name while turning completely away to begin a conversation with the person next to her.
So rude to meet ya.

Anyway, it was a fun evening and now day thirteen is done.


A few years back Susan used to take the train to work. She liked walking the few blocks from her house to the station and if she had time she would stop at the newspaper stand and get a cup of coffee because the guy at the newspaper stand made good coffee. He spoke English as his second language and sometimes people would be short tempered with him so Susan always made sure that she said thank you extra sweet.

Every once in a while a politician would be waiting to ambush the commuters in front of the train platform. Oy, how Susan hated to waste any of the precious moments of her life ducking politicians. One morning when Susan didn't have any available time to spare she spied an old timer in khakis approaching commuters, accepting donations and handing out poppies. Drats! The old timer was right in her path, there was nowhere to go. Susan prepared herself for the encounter by reaching into her bag to grab a dollar but came up with a twenty. Fear stabbed her in the heart when she realized that's all she had.

Susan walked up to the veteran, conversated briefly and slipped him the twenty. He smiled a big smile, took a step back and saluted her.


Susan gave permission for her daughter to stay overnight in the home of complete strangers.
Later, she went over there with the husband and some brownies to see if she could get rid of a queasy feeling that she had.

Susan liked the strangers and it wasn't just because she was handed a plate of warm apple fritters topped with icecream faster than she was able to calculate how much fat & sugar they might have.

There was much lively conversation and the strangers had a ballsy romantic backstory that Susan found appealing.
It was a good first date and Susan would like to see them again.


Black Bean Chili

Day ten is brought to you courtesy of Susan's pal Dawn (hi, doll) who was intrigued by Susan's addition of pumpkin to her black bean chili. Throwing pumpkin into chili doesn't mess with the flavor, unless you want it to, then just add a little cinnamon.

1 large ONION, chopped
2 GARLIC cloves, minced (add more if you want more)
2 teaspoons ground CUMIN
2 tablespoons CHILI POWDER
4 cups canned black BEANS (make any bean substitution you like)
1 cup water
1/4 cup bottled chipotle sauce (Susan substitutes Goya CHIPOTLE PEPPERS in Adobo sauce)
1 tablespoon SUGAR
1 28 ounce can DICED TOMATOES
1/2 to 1 cup of PUMPKIN
*a few strips of turkey BACON, diced

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan, add turkey bacon & saute for five minutes then add onion and garlic, saute for another five until everything begins to brown.
Add the spices, cook 1 minute stirring constantly
Add beans and the remaining ingredients, stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

*Susan loves turkey bacon, not because it's going to fool anyone into thinking that it's real bacon, but because it provides a wonderful smoky sweet flavor.
The chipotle is what makes this Susan's favorite.
Plus it's easy.
And fast.


In Susan's chilly little corner of the universe it was warm on Sunday. For lack of anything better to do the husband proclaimed it Family Fun Day and handed everyone a rake. Susan wore a patch of skin off her hand in ten minutes,
a few people stepped in poop, and the yard got cleaned.
Susan even saw two ladybugs, unless the one inside was the same one that was outside then some mosquitoes showed up. How does that happen? They must reconstitute above a certain temperature. The husband played basketball in the street with the kids and time moved slowly, in a nice way.
Susan's front stoop is now swept and neat, colored lights frame the doorway and her threadbare welcome mat was recycled when she flipped it over.
A well placed sunny Sunday can make a big difference in Susan's mental outlook. At least temporarily.


It's day eight but Susan's wants to blog about how she spent day seven cooking and baking to take her mind off of how f*cking broke she is. If having no available cash weren't bad enough, she ran out of garlic and is almost entirely out of flour and laundry soap.

Susan started the morning by stepping in dog pee.
Let's just assume that she steps in dog pee every day this way she won't have to waste energy mentioning it again and again.
In the shower she thought she was going to have a heart attack, Susan had to get a grip.
The only way out of this level of anxiety was to bake.

Earlier in the week she had opened a large can of pumpkin for who remembers what and her goal was now to use up the rest. Susan was sauteing the onions for her chili when she found out about the garlic. Argh.
She added the rest of the ingredients including a cup of pumpkin, she likes to add pumpkin to her chili.
She moved on to making two loaves of pumpkin bread while the chili simmered.
Susan mixed the last of the pumpkin into the batter for two brownies that she microwaved in cups, then she prepared some butternut squash for roasting.
The bread came out of the oven, the squash went in,
then the squash came out and in went a pan of brownies into which Susan had swirled peanut butter and jelly.
The husband likes them that way.
While she was waiting Susan made a simple orange glaze to pour over the bread.

Susan was able to relax enough to enjoy her Little sister's family when they came over to eat the brownies and watch a Woody Allen movie.

NaBloPoMo, who sez quality suffers?


Even though Susan knows better she'll still pick up a Martha Stewart Living magazine if she sees one lying around. Susan doesn't dislike Martha or anything, she just finds her to be unrealistically labor intensive and a bit much with the table settings and fancy pie crusts.
The other day Susan found the current MSL sitting unattended so she grabbed it.

MSL starts off with Martha's Calendar and is filled with things like apply bonemeal to planted spring flowering bulbs and work it into the soil using a cultivator and
seal stone terraces. But it's not all ridiculous because she's also got stock liquor cabinet scheduled early in the month.

Martha shows us how to make a simple birdseed and suet bird feeder molded in a wonton soup container, but first we must rend two pounds of suet. Next.
How about cooking a spatchcocked turkey? It requires that we cut out the backbone, open the turkey like a book & then break the breastbone on each side so that the turkey lies flat.
Glitter painting could be adapted into a cute craft if Susan gave a crap.
There were a number of quick breads that looked to be right up Susan's alley but they each required two sticks of butter. That's a stick and a half too much.

There were plenty of recipes and crafts and articles but Susan wasn't interested in any of them. The one thing that stood out were how many advertisements there were for Martha's own products; Martha Stewart Weddings, Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home, Martha Stewart Tinsel Glitters, Martha Stewart for 1-800-Fowers.com, Martha Stewart for grandinroad and Martha Stewart in a Got Milk? ad.

Susan will be dropping MSL into the magazine recycling bin at her library over the weekend.

Day seven's in the books.


Project Runway

Day 6.
How come Susan's not all excited about PR this season?
I mean, she still watches it but she doesn't bother calling her little sister the next day to talk about it, she doesn't care about who makes what, there's not even anybody who bugs her. What's wrong? Do you think it's Susan? Because she thinks it's them.
On second thought, there are a few things that have bugged her this season; she totally doesn't want to watch the designers interact with eachother unless they're ganging up to b*tch about someone. She's had it with faggy boys who giggle and run like girls. Had it.
Epperson kind of bugged her but she can't remember why. At any rate, she's glad she doesn't have to look at his forehead or listen to anyone say 'Epperson' anymore.
She didn't like Nicholas' fat face, greasy hair and boring blather. She was glad when he got booted off too.
Are you a little surprised to see Susan turning ugly? A little disappointed? Susan believes that TV people have signed up for this sort of nasty scrutiny and she doesn't feel bad for providing it.
Susan found that she likes Christopher's voluminous ruffly things, it makes her all weepy for everything that Christian made last season. Christopher is lucky he made it this far, he won't live much longer.
We all know that the mean girl, Irina is going to win because she's the most talented and has the stomach for cutthroat business interactions.


Day five; Dental issues.
Over the weekend Susan's temporary cap fell out and she bit it in two. She's already fed up with her dental practice even though it's a relatively new relationship. She had four teeth requiring attention when she sought the intervention of We Do It All Dental Care. The first problem was left over from 2001 when she bit into a Baby Ruth candy bar and swallowed half her tooth. The most recent problem was earlier this year when she bit into a soft piece of macaroni and said 'Ouch!'

Anyway, We Do It All was very nice while they were courting Susan but once she turned herself over to them they were all You owe us $150 for today's visit every bloody time she went. Then, when Susan was sitting in the chair about to have a permanent tooth installed she was invited to leave and come back six weeks later, the length of time it took them to clear up a previous insurance discrepancy. Susan wasn't down with that at all and didn't go back for months and months and months until she got a letter saying that We Do It All was cutting Susan loose and where did she want her dental records sent?

Susan returned this past Saturday to have them finish what they started. However, since she'd been avoiding them for so long the permanent tooth didn't fit and another one would have to be made at an additional cost. They cemented the old temporary back in and sent her to the b*tchy office c*nt to make an appointment for two weeks later. Susan sat directly in front of the b*tchy office c*nt for a full three minutes and was never told that she still had some powdery white cement on her chin. Susan found this out in public when she caught a glimpse of herself in a mirror.

Later that evening after Susan bit her temporary cap in two she phoned We Do It All and got their service.
We Do It All except phone Susan back it seems.


On day four Susan got her hair cut.
She likes to keep it short, lesbian short. Susan's former therapist said that she made herself a visual target,
why can't Susan just like her hair short?

She goes to a neighborhood place where Kitty cuts her hair for twelve dollars. They each have a boy in the same grade and a girl in the same grade, so they compare disciplinary strategies. Susan and Kitty agree that jumping up & down and screaming is essential for the relaxing after-effect it has on the screamer. It's not so good as a motivational tool.

Susan used to go to a friend's salon and pay forty dollars for the haircut, forty for the color and ten dollars to the girl who washed her hair. But that was one job & a recession ago, now Susan buys a box of L'Oreal #6R and likes the color better.

Periodically Susan gets the impression that some may think her hairstyle too short, but that's alright. Susan's almost fifty (well, next year) and doesn't mind when someone isn't in love with her hair as long as they keep it to themselves.

Can't wait till day five, eh?


Day three and Susan has nothing to write about.
She told you all that this would happen and yet,
you encouraged her. She hopes you're happy now.
Sit back and hear why Susan was unsatisfied with her lunch today.

One of the perks of Susan's workplace, Acme Sweatshop, is that lunch is provided for the employees. Susan isn't about to b*tch about the hand that feeds her because she generally enjoys her lunches, but not always.

Today, Susan got to lunch late and found a solitary plate of cold pizza waiting for her. This was totally not going to be enough food to carry Susan through the afternoon, neither was it a good looking plate of cold pizza. She went into the kitchen to see what else was available and found a plate of lettuce. Not salad greens with some olives or a tomato, just a plate of lettuce. Even Susan's mother served a better salad back in the '70s.

Susan took the plate of lettuce and the plate of cold pizza and a cup of salad dressing over to a table to join an old Real Estate section of the Times already waiting. She cut up her pizza, dumped it onto the lettuce and poured the dressing over it. She ate it without enthusiasm while reading how it takes over an hour for a fella from Brooklyn to mass transit himself to his girlfriend in upper Manhattan, 14 miles away.

Susan will see you tomorrow.


Susan has been preparing for the final days of her elderly, semi-continent, arthritic dog by giving her food from the table, letting her sleep on the couch and by not over reacting when she pees on Susan's feet.

The twelve year old boxer has slowed down but still able to enjoy her usual compliment of activities; roaming the yard, licking grease from the barbecue, having a nosh from the compost pile, trying to hump the neighbor's dog. Then last week she took to the couch and didn't leave except to eat and go potty, by invitation. When Susan came home from work the dog would barely look up, making no effort to move around or even wag her tail. Sad stuff. Susan knew that the dog would not be around to beg for food at Thanksgiving.

Susan took an old quilt and threw it on top of the dog's bed for when she couldn't make it back onto the couch. Susan watched as the dog attempted to position herself on the quilt, obviously in pain, but collapsed instead and fell asleep as if she had no strength at all to make the teeniest adjustment to her limbs or head. From this point on Susan began checking that the dog was still breathing and discussed with the husband about where they would bury her.

Friday night Susan had a date with her little sister to watch 'All About Eve' at cousin Lisa's house. She told everyone of her impending loss, got a little sympathy then they all sat down to watch watching Bette Davis and Celeste Holm grow to hate Anne Baxter.

Saturday morning Susan's neighbor came over to let his dogs run in her yard, this attracted the elderly, deaf dog's attention so she got off the couch and hobbled outside to see what was up. She seemed to make a teeny bit of a comeback keeping her distance from the other dogs but walking and pooping with much less of a labored effort.
For the rest of the afternoon she was barking at trick or treaters, following people into the kitchen and walking down the back steps of the deck instead of falling down them. At dinner she took her usual spot underneath the dining table instead of sleeping through it in the living room.

This is all Susan needed to cheer her up and banish the dog from the couch once again.



As TWISTED, smart & funny as Susan may be she's unable to consistently come up with anything worth reading. Beginning right this second Susan has decided to enter NaBloPoMo and force herself to write a blog post every day for a month. Oy. Susan's better suited to WipeHerHineyEveryDay because she's pretty confident that she can work it into her schedule.

Susan's not sure what constitutes a regulation post with NaBloPoMo. Four sentences? She doesn't know if she can even think up four sentences every day and then squeeze them in between all the other things she's got to do, like;
managing her economic anxiety
wiggling her broken tooth
giving her elderly dog cookies for no good reason
muting all the television commercials
and making Hamburger Helper again for dinner.

This is barely even a post, but it'll have to do.


Sunday Papers

Susan waits all week for the Sunday papers.
She reads the cheeky lowbrow NY Post along with the know it all NY Times. Susan herself doesn't know it all because she only reads the sections that she's in the mood for. This generally means no politics beyond who's where doing what and sometimes barely that much.

When Susan chose to stop commuting four hours a day to a job that she loved in NYC she had to quit reading
The Post because it just made her sad. Eventually she got used to waking up with the sun and goofing off at an easy civil service job, um, toiling in service for the citizens of New York state and was able to enjoy The Post again.
She's pretty sure Alfred E. Neuman writes it.

Sunday morning always finds her at the table with a cup of coffee and her index finger pointing to the last word she read before the husband started talking. His own paper is open & he's usually making a crack about the president while Susan rolls her eyes and tells him he sounds like a bitching housewife and will he finally stop talking so she can continue reading.
He doesn't.

Susan enjoyed reading this story.


Obviously Susan Needs Some Attention

Susan has been fantasizing about reorganizing her recipes. She's been thinking about which ones she'd copy from her cookbooks, slip into plastic sleeves then place into a central binder. She was daydreaming about all the squash recipes she's saved but never tried. She wishes she were lucky enough to have a big beautiful refrigerator like Cousin Lisa where nothing ever ends up as a sticky black puddle. She knows that everything in her life would improve if only she could repaint the benches in her dining room.

Other times Susan fantasizes about smashing everything in her house, but that's only when her son walks into her line of vision.

Susan seeks refuge in her bed more and more lately.
She doesn't mind having company, as long as her companion has not been previously banished from her sight. Sometimes she takes the laptop or a section from last Sunday's paper or a glass of wine. She finds herself thinking about when she's an old lady and wonders where she'll end up, will little sister be with her and how early they'll be able to have a cocktail.


Middle School Progress Reports

The next five weeks of Susan's son's immediate future have been modified to exclude video games, television, the computer, and weekend interaction with his peers. Initially the son replaced the loss of these activities with sleeping but after a day or two he began considering some crazy alternatives, like reading books and helping mommy cook. He now knows how to roast red peppers, crush garlic and use the food processor.

Susan's modest fan base is already familiar with her son Fuckleupagus, newcomers may catch up
here and here and here.

Susan enjoys plunging her son's world into a dark pit of boredom but she'd give it up if he'd just start handing in his assignments.
He doesn't have difficulty with comprehension, just execution. Sometimes a teacher will accept a late assignment for fifty percent credit. Susan's son explains that the absent assignment only accounts for a small percentage of the grade & therefore lacks true significance. To him, it's acceptable to complete one hundred percent of the work for half on the dollar because he also operates under the misguided idea that knowing the material is enough.

This is the third year in a row that Susan has been unable to manage her son away from this counter productive behavior. She understands that he doesn't value grades so she must find a way to inspire him to value having a calm and happy mother. She attempted this by screaming at him as loud as she's ever screamed in her life. She screamed at him so loudly she thought her eyeballs would explode and her throat would burst open and gush blood. When she was done she turned total responsibility for him over to the husband and then banished him from her sight indefinitely.


Sabado Gigante

Last night Susan saw the show that TV was invented for, Sabado Gigante.
Susan's not sure what was going on but it appeared to be a low end talent show, all in Spanish. There was a sleazyish host, a masked person costumed in silver and black, a dancing midget dressed as Dracula and a series of regular folk with bad coiffures who took the stage to sing then leave. Periodically there was a line of girls in tighty tight outfits jiggling to beat the band, nothing new there. The Dracula midget was by far Susan's favorite, she wishes there was one in every show on TV.

Later in the program the sleazyish host took to the street to interview Spanish food cart vendors in Harlem.
Exciting stuff.
He chose the ear of one unfortunate female vendor into which to whisper but she totally blew him off. Good girl.
He was able to attract a number of bystanders who wanted to sing for him including a Spanish cowboy, hat and all.

Susan's already highlighted this program in her TV Guide for next week.


Susan Turns On The Heat

Not the sexy heat or the persuasive heat, Susan turned the dial on the thermostat and made her house warm.

At this time last year Susan was unemployed and wouldn't turn on the heat unless someone in the house reported seeing their breath. It takes 8 weeks to run through a tank of heating oil, every day she didn't use the heat would mean an extra day of being warm when it was really cold. But, it already was really cold and getting through the unemployed days became a feat of endurance.
Some days it was warmer outside.

Susan rarely left the house, she'd throw her big gray hooded sweater over whatever she was wearing then go into the kitchen to cook curry. If she spent the day on the computer, another favorite activity during that period, she'd wear two sweaters and a blanket on her lap. Everybody bundled up to go to bed.

Ultimately, the husband was responsible for pulling the plug on the freezing house. He turned on the heat November 15th, Susan remembers the date.

This year Susan briefly considered running the endurance contest again, then a cold gray windy rain rattled her windows and snapped the patio umbrella in half.
She turned on the heat and braced herself for warmth.


Church, Week 6

Who were those people sitting in front of Susan who kept touching throughout the service? They were no kids, they were parents of teenage children for crissakes!

As she has previously mentioned the Church of Susan's Experiment is small and anything happening in the pew ahead of Susan will be happening in her personal space. So, hugging, touching, hair stroking, scooting unusually close together, all this is right in her face. Perhaps they came directly from their Marriage Encounter weekend. Whatever.
Susan likes her spouse as much as the next frustrated over-extended tired suburban working mother and is content to hold his hand in close social situations, but enough with the touching.

Susan thinks church is growing on her.
This week she liked how they sang a gospel song in a white people way.
She almost got her son to investigate the youth group after the service.
Maybe next time.


Susan was messing around on the computer and discovered that it was Jackson Browne's birthday. OMG! Jackson Browne is like an old pal who helped shape Susan in to who she is today.

He started when she was fourteen and would lie next to her on the cold carpeted floor of her ancestral home singing to her through giant headphones until they were like one person. She was attracted to all that moody sadness and emptiness because that's how she felt. She loved his imperfect voice, angular face and the way his hair was always falling into his eyes. His lyrics took up much of her emotional energy, she wondered how he could be so clever to think them up in the first place and then fit them into songs. As she matured she was happy to find that love isn't always sad, disappointment is relative and there were people on whom she could always rely.

Susan eventually moved on to the Clash and Nine Inch Nails and Modest Mouse, she was living her life, not thinking about who she would become. She didn't need Jackson Browne anymore because he had already done his work. He taught her that she is responsible for wherever she ends up, that things wouldn't always work out but she has to keep trying, and it's her job to find the meaning in her own life.
This is Susan in a nutshell.

Oh, and on her honeymoon Susan found herself standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and was a little surprised to see what a dump it was.


Tomorrow's Another Day

Susan became completely unhinged while on the phone with the husband the other night. She caught the dog sneaking back upstairs after it had peed on the carpeting. The dog pees all the time and Susan doesn't care because it's on wood and linoleum, but she doesn't need a f*cking carpet cleaning job to take care of when she's not even keeping up with the regular cleaning jobs. Grrrrrr!
Her frustration over the dog compromised the protective barrier she maintains to hold back all the rest of her frustration. Everything exited through her mouth,
over the phone, into the husband's ear.
All her anger, private opinions and general hopelessness that anything in the world will ever work out was now open for discussion, which isn't really what she wanted to do. Luckily, the husband has a deep understanding of his TWISTED Susan and treated her tirade like any other conversation.
She calmed down, waited for him to get home, watched Top Chef and went to sleep.


Susan's Fall Wardrobe

Susan took the opportunity afforded by the seasonal rotation of her clothing to get rid of half of what she owned. There wasn't much to begin with, just what her closet will accommodate, roughly two weeks worth of outfits. She has a lot of black because she can always find black, but she does what she can to incorporate things that aren't black as well. When she's got money she loves nothing more than to try spending it on clothing in nice stores with coffee bars. But, when funding is tight Susan relies heavily on the thrift store.

Susan and the thrift store had a rocky start; she was home with small children and needed to compile a work wardrobe on the dirt cheap. She was filled with shame and dread that someone would discover her poking through other people's old clothes. That was until she found something she liked.

Susan can remember exactly what she purchased in those early days; the fitted jackets vaguely reminiscent of the '40s, a black and white herringbone skirt, a large tote with a great lining and Kate Spade label, the strands of pearls with pretty clasps. She's not immune to mistakes with her thrifty choices, like a certain shiny gray tailored shirt, some short pleated skirts and a pair of mom jeans. There's more, but Susan learns from her mistakes, she's also developed some rules for how to wear other people's old clothes.
Only one piece of vintage at a time.
If something is a little extreme like a tapestry jacket with three quarter sleeves everything else has to be simple.
It's OK to spend fifteen dollars in alterations on a five dollar skirt.

On Saturday Susan turned twenty five dollars into two tailored shirts and a soft white button down sweater, the type that I Love Lucy might wear. Then she went home, did her laundry and spent an hour ironing everything in her closet. She didn't mind at all.


Friday Night Date

Even after so many, many years together Susan's husband is still a spontaneous romantic.
Friday night immediately after dinner he announced that he was taking Susan out.
Just like that, out!
They kissed the kids, grabbed the keys and disappeared.

They didn't have to go far because there was a place right in the neighborhood that was perfect. It was all decked out in fall splendor with pumpkins and pot upon pot of golden mums and purple kale.

Susan and the husband walked around and talked about all sorts of things. The husband spent even more money than he spent on Susan's birthday. In fact he looked a little shocked when everything was added up. But, then Susan pulled out her coupons and they packed up their groceries and went home.


Middle Eastern Shepherd's Pie

The night before payday and Susan had one red pepper and one pound of ground turkey in the back of her refrigerator. As if by magic, a recipe she tore out of somewhere long ago requiring those two ingredients and not many more revealed itself to her. She doesn't know how ketchup, cumin and raisins make something middle eastern but she didn't care because she had all the ingredients and she was committed. Her expectations were low. It didn't smell like much as she cooked and no one had a word to say while they ate. She was delighted to discover that her family loved dinner and gave permission for her to make it again which is fantastic because it's bloody simple.

2 lbs POTATOES, scrubbed
1/2 cup chicken BROTH (bouillon, whatever)
1 tablespoon OLIVE OIL
1/4 teaspoon SALT
Prick potatoes all over, microwave for 7 minutes, turn & give them 7 more (unless they're small potatoes, in which case you won't need the additional seven minutes).
Cut in half & let cool.

1 lb GROUND TURKEY (ground beef, whatever you like)
1 RED PEPPER, diced (substituted from the original green pepper)
1 ONION, chopped
2 tablespoons CAPERS (Susan hates these & left them out)
1/2 teaspoon CUMIN
1/2 teaspoon SALT
1/4 teaspoon CINNAMON
1/8 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER
1/4 cup RAISINS
1/4 cup KETCHUP

Preheat oven to 425*
Combine ground turkey, cumin, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, red pepper & onion in a skillet. Cook over medium high, stirring to break up meat until it's no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Stir in capers (yuck), raisins and ketchup, cook a few more minutes until mixture is fairly dry. Transfer to pie plate or any similarly sized receptacle and press to flatten.

Scoop out potato flesh and combine with broth, olive oil & salt. Mash and spread evenly over top of meat. Into the oven for 15 minutes or until potatoes begin to brown.
This serves four, but next time Susan's going to double the recipe and make it in a lasagna pan.

Ed. note: Susan modified the cooking process thusly: Saute the diced pepper & onions first, cook the turkey, drain. Combine everything and cook for the last few minutes.


An Apology

Susan would like to apologize to her modest fan base for her recent period of lax posting and explain why it's not her fault.

Her job as a sweatshop seamstress keeps her away from home for so long each day that her family no longer waits dinner, instead she finds a plate covered with tinfoil on the dining room table. If she has a glass of wine with dinner then there's no hope of posting for the evening or doing laundry or anything else. If she doesn't then she's got to get in line for the laptop behind three people who don't give a crap about her BLAHg schedule.

There is a noticeable difference in the quality of her posts when she begins blogging after everyone's gone to bed and doesn't end till 1am. Her brain grinds slowly, recollections elude her and creativity sez screw you, I'm tired.

Access to the computer doesn't guarantee anything because there's plenty of times that Susan has absolutely nothing to say. I mean, her topics are pretty slim to begin with. She was toying with the idea of substituting recipes for actual material. In fact, she was thinking of the simple salsa Cousin Lisa made the other day; mango, tomatoes, black beans, onion, cilantro, lime juice. Who knew that mango & black beans could inspire someone to eat until they were sick? An avocado was supposed to be added but Cousin Lisa used it for something else.

Anyway, please forgive Susan if she falls behind every once in a while. She really tries her best and hopes that you'll stick with her as she slowly cranks out her exciting true life adventures.


Little Sister's Birthday!

The other day was Little Sister's birthday. As little sisters go, Susan thinks hers is the best. She can't vouch for the absolute accuracy of her statement because she hasn't met every last little sister in the world, but Susan figures hers is close.
She's Susan's best and only.

Now, Susan's little sister isn't perfect; she's a bit passive-aggressive, likes to take charge of everything and engages in political pontification, but Susan manages to navigate around these defects by taking a nap on the couch. Or by telling her to shut up on her birthday.

Susan's little sister is pretty smart, very funny and can still retain most of what she reads in the newspaper. She can can throw a punch, feed a house full of people with no notice and still likes to play soccer even though she should have been retired years ago.

Little sister is a model of self sufficiency; she works a full time job, runs a business of her own, troubleshoots the computer, builds steps to the hot tub, fixes any number of things that break in the house and digs the hole to bury dead pets.

Susan's little sister has let pre-approved family members flop at her house without departure dates,
including Susan. Twice.
It is now the permanent residence of Wild Bill's daughter who they are all happy to have near. Wild Bill is still in the vicinity, although contact of late has been minimal.

Susan's little sister is talented at gift giving. Recent favorites include the assortment of Jesus sticky notes, a wooden wick candle that smelled terrific and lasted all winter and the big orange pocketbook that Susan wouldn't allow her to buy from a guy on the street last weekend. It was a nice oversized pocketbook in a favorite color but Susan's little sister is just as broke as Susan, plus they were verging on being late to see Carrie Fisher at the old Studio 54 and couldn't dedicate any more time to the transaction.

The sisters had a full weekend of togetherness; Friday night for birthday cake, Saturday night with Carrie Fisher and then all the next day at a soiree with their beloved girl cousins. By 10pm Sunday night the sound of little sister's voice made Susan's brain hurt.


Lock the F*cking Door Already

Again Susan came home to find that her family left the back door unlocked. Sometimes she finds it open, but usually she just finds it unlocked. Susan expects her medium sized children to not give a crap about doors and locks but apparently the husband doesn't either.

She doesn't hide her frustration when she tells him that the f*cking back door was left unlocked again. Of course he's got something to say about it. What is there to say other than I'll never do it again.
Why does she have to tell a college educated man that he didn't check to make sure the f*cking back door was locked? Again.

Doesn't he think that one day his family might come home to find somebody in their house who doesn't belong there? Is Susan being paranoid? She will admit to having a bit of leftover paranoia from her twenties, but she didn't think that was bad.

Susan has a recurring fantasy where she opens a big beautifully wrapped box to find a flamethrower. She takes it out and totally f*cking annihilates everything in sight.


Church, Week 3

The Church of Susan's Experiment is interactive which is something Susan is not comfortable with.
In that other church, one could slip in unnoticed, sit in the back & scoot out early.
Not here.
The building is small and a family of four arriving late will have all available eyes upon them as they take their seats.
Up front, because the back rows fill first.
In addition, someone will come over to let them know that bored youth might prefer to go downstairs to Sunday school. Susan's bored youth want no part of this.

Early in the service the congregation turns to greet one another, they do this with a handshake, a nod or by walking over from the other side of the room to say hello. After service the pastor hotfoots it outside to chat as everyone exits just like Susan has seen done in the movies. Anyway, her point is that she's not getting out of there before having to speak with a person or two every week.

On the plus side, the Church of Susan's Experiment is adorable. A real charming white clapboard country church set on a winding road with a cemetery. The lady pastor is interesting to listen to and Susan likes the church's inclusiveness and charitable projects but she's a long way off from joining anything.



Susan and the husband made it across the finish line to their fifteenth wedding anniversary. What stamina!

What is their secret?
Be nice, tell the truth, apologize as soon as you figure out you're wrong. This is all pretty obvious. Susan has also established some bad behavior standards that she will not sink beneath, such as calling him names or embarrassing him. This has nothing to do with yelling & screaming at him like a crazy shrew, because making him mad is ok.

Susan has figured out how to keep her low libido from eradicating the romance in her marriage by limiting the amount of I'm too tireds in a given period.
Sometimes Susan even does things that she never did before, like make the bed every morning, just because she knows the husband likes it.

Susan doesn't keep quiet, she sez whatever she needs to say and she won't back off from a fight, but this only extends to the husband, with anyone else she backs off.

After so many years manacled together Susan is still interested in hearing his opinion on a range of topics. She might also request that he refrain from offering his opinion because she's trying to read the paper or listen to the TV or she just can't stand to hear him say one more word.

Fifteen years and Susan's not tired of her man yet,
but there's always next year.


Church, Week Two

Susan woke up early again and made her children to go to church, they weren't happy but Susan didn't care. Nobody cared that Susan wasn't happy when she was their age. The circle is complete.

This church doesn't bug Susan the way that other church did. Going to church has already begun paying dividends in Susan's life; she unloaded the 1993 Volvo!
Thanks, God.


Something Else Susan Hates

Susan had some banking to do today, something that required her to walk inside and seek assistance from an uncooperative drone behind a desk.

Susan has a long history grappling with passive-aggressive bank personnel. If they can tell Susan NO they find a way to do it then ask with a have a nice day smile on their stupid face if there's anything else they can help Susan with today.

Susan felt anxious during the drive over, by the time she got to the parking lot she was full-on aggravated. She walked into the bank with the same look on her face she probably has when she picks up dog poop.

The bank was hopping. Tellers were informing bank customers of their eligibility for a bank credit card that offers points for some bullsh*t or other. Susan knew that they were only eligible to be tricked then brutalized, poor slobs.
She wanted to scream Don't do it! but she's not crazy so she didn't scream.

The bank was set up with the tellers in full view and the customer service offices down a hallway, out of view. If the offices couldn't be seen, neither could the customers be seen by those in the offices.

There was no one assigned to say Hello, how may we help you?
No one assigned to give a sh*t.

Susan stood around with her arms folded across her chest and her dog poop face on. She descended into TWISTED anger at the prospect of giving the last & only bit of her money to people who ignore her.
F*ck them, she walked out.

Tune in next week to hear Susan's opinion of doctors' office staff.


Eight years ago Susan worked in New York City.
After five years of staying home to yell at her children Susan got the opportunity to wake up every morning at 4:45, sit on a train for two hours and emerge on the street to find there were people already drunk and arguing with each other.

At first, Susan wasn't all too enthused about working in New York but little by little the city chipped away at her until she got used to it.
In no time they were going steady.
Susan ate Indian food, sushi and falafel for lunch, bought Italian boots on sale and watched elephants walk down Eighth Avenue. Plus, she made friends and grew to understand that New York was a series of neighborhoods just like anywhere else.

Eight years ago Susan stood at the window with her co-workers and looked three miles south.
They saw a sliver of a tall building on fire.
Later she stood on the street with a million people all trying to get home.

Susan has her own thoughts and feelings about that day, as does everyone. She doesn't want it designated as Patriot's Day or a national day of service or anything other than what it is, September 11.


Church, oy.

The other day Susan did something that she never does; she woke up early on her day off and went to church.
Anyone who knows Susan is familiar with the depth of her distaste for the pedophilic society and hypocritical hierarchy who inhabit the church of her youth. The former altar boy she married shares her viewpoint, their children are unbaptised heathens doomed never to see the Gates of Heaven. Tough luck, kids.

Anyway, thirty years ago Susan studied orthodox Judaism for a little while. She must mention a significant twist to her studies; the community she spent time with believed in Jesus. But, they kept the sabbath, kept kosher, read both sides of the bible and so forth. She really liked Judaism but got a little burned out by it so she took a long break.

She tried going back to church after she had her kids.
The only requirement was that it be pretty on the inside to give her something to look at for an hour, but it still made her squirm. Then she did the best she could to teach them about God and Jesus on her own, but she knows just enough to raise them in a Godless universe.
Susan needed help.

There's a Congregational church two towns over that Susan and her family have attended on the average of once a year. It's as different in style from that other church as necessary to make her feel comfortable, sort of, although there's plenty of discomfort for Susan being in church.
Susan views it as an experiment and will keep you posted.


Susan Can Smell Her Dog from the Other Room

Susan's elderly, deaf, flatulent dog is inching toward the end of her life. She's just short of 84 but still pretty spry. She doesn't use a walker, smear her lipstick across her face or repeat the same stories over and over, but she has a bit of an incontinence issue and needs help with her personal grooming. Susan's not cleaning poopie off hineys yet, just some boogery eyes and blood.
The dog has been drinking more water than usual lately and has required entire afternoons of beauty sleep although the latter has done nothing to improve her looks, poor girl.

The dog's always in a good mood unlike some TWISTED people she lives with and will hop up from a dead sleep to follow anyone going anywhere in the house hoping there'll be food at the end.

Susan's hipped her medium sized children to the impending expiration date on their dog and watched as they've been extra sweet to her or reward her with cookies for doing nothing and then talk with animated excitement about replacing her with a furry puppy.


Tattoo You

Susan grew up in the seventies when girls didn't get tattoos. At least not girls in her neighborhood or the next few adjoining neighborhoods. Susan considered getting a tattoo through the eighties but she couldn't figure out where to put one, then she was afraid of getting AIDS then she went back to not knowing where to put one.
She ultimately gave up because there's so many reasons for Susan not to be tattooed.

The one thing above all else that has kept her unmarked is the blue ink, she doesn't like how the black ink turns blue. Another thing is Susan's fear of pissing herself at first sight of a long haired guy with a vibrating needle.

Susan remembers the first tattoo that impressed her;
a large, open winged eagle spread across the bicep of a young woman. This was eons before girls started showing up all sleeved out.

The silliest series of tattoos Susan saw were bands inked across the upper arms of some pretty young things in bridesmaid attire, forever branding them 1995.

This evening, Susan's (relationship deleted to spare their mother) paid a complete stranger to stab her in the hip with ink filled needles. Susan is thankful for the decision of (relationship deleted) to confine her body art to a personal spot, one that wouldn't be peeking out from anywhere forcing Susan to roll her eyes.



Susan never walks in her bare feet. Ever. Anywhere.
If she sleepwalks in the middle of the night she puts something on her feet first.

Susan can't tolerate stepping on the dog hair, crumbs & sticky bits of she doesn't even want to think about what that carpet her uncarpeted floors.
Just thinking about it now makes her all cold and shivery.

In her youth she ran barefoot like everyone else, she even attended a wedding in her bare feet, she was nineteen of course. She got splinters from the boardwalk, stepped on glass, in dogsh*t and on a slug, which required an unusual amount of scrubbing off.

Susan's very protective of her feet, they require a lot of maintenance just to stay in working condition. The summer is particularly brutal, if she doesn't keep to a daily lubrication schedule her feet will quickly transform into a miserable mess. It generally takes two full days to recover from one afternoon spent at the beach.
She's never even had a proper pedicure. She's given herself plenty but has only fantasized about having someone else do it for her. She came close to a pedicure a few years ago, but it didn't work out.

Common is the sound of her screaming 'Stay off my FEET!'
Dogs step on them. Her medium sized children drive shopping carts into the back of them. Susan even managed to scrape all the skin off her big toe a few years back when she was teaching her daughter to ride a bike.
It bled and bled and bled then took the entire summer to heal.

Susan loves shoes, all sorts of shoes.
She's got many in-store tests they must go through before she brings them home. However, she thinks nothing of handing off a pair of brand new beautiful shoes if they don't make the cut. Just ask the husband's daughter,
the one who shares a size 10 foot.


Susan knows some folks who are going through dark times. Not to denigrate divorce or foreclosure, but they're not dark enough. Imagine being chased off a cliff by monsters and you're in the ballpark.

Currently Susan's wrestling with being broke. But who isn't.
It's like having a boil on her butt, a throbbing, angry, miserable boil. But it's temporary. She's still free to enjoy the simple pleasures that each day brings, like the breeze thru a window, the smell of coffee brewing or the sound of the dog drinking from the toilet because the kids have neglected to fill the water bowl.

Susan is lucky because she's got a family who needs her.
The husband needed her to assist in picking him up off the driveway yesterday after he tripped over a bicycle.
The emotional, pre-menstrual daughter has needed her every night to make a space in bed when she comes in crying. The son just needs her to keep on buying food.

Susan doesn't know what the future holds she just knows what she has right now. She hopes when it's time for her to go over the cliff she'll do it the best way she knows how.


Hands Off Susan's Breakfast!

Susan practically stabbed her son through the hand with a fork as he tried to snatch from her plate a piece of English muffin saturated with egg yolk.
Susan doesn't share her food ever. She doesn't care if you're one of those Biafran babies with distended bellies from her childhood. Get away from her plate NOW.
Susan has to eat at regular intervals or her symptoms will be many and her decompensation swift.
Aging hasn't helped either.

Susan's bottom right desk drawer at work is filled with oatmeal packets and Luna Bars, her upper right drawer has hard candy & dark chocolate covered espresso beans. Susan carries emergency sugar packets in her bag which she once downed with such a crazed ferocity she scared her children. Sugar packets are her big needle filled with adrenaline.

Susan knows what everyone is thinking,
go to a doctor!
She went to an internist earlier this decade and his diagnosis was 'Maybe you're just hungry'. Maybe she is.

In the meantime, Susan's able to manage her symptoms by eating properly and regularly. So, as long as she's not living outside a society with supermarkets she'll be fine. She's not forgetting the little candy bar thing she kicked earlier this season, that was due more to accessibility than actual addiction.
But, she doesn't take the little candy bar thing lightly,
no she doesn't. She understands the warm, happy sugar high and how it applies to her. She once heard an interview with Eric Clapton, the epic heroin addict and guitar player, identify his first addiction as sugar.
Can Susan have an Amen?


The Cupboard Is Bare

Susan was between paychecks last week so she didn't go food shopping. There was still plenty of paper towels and laundry soap but every day found less and less to eat.
Susan has an emergency meal for such a situation;
linguine and clam sauce. The sauce is totally from a can, but it's quick to prepare and everyone likes it. If she plunges a head of broccoli into the boiling pasta water, chops it up then artfully places it on top of the sauce she could serve it to company.

She put the water on the stove to boil, retrieved the clam sauce from the shelf but when she reached for the linguine she found there was only half a box left. No way was half a box of linguine going to feed four people, two of whom don't know when to stop eating. The only other macaroni available was mezzo ditale which Susan uses in her pasta e fagioli because it's the same size as the beans.

The husband told Susan to break the linguine in half so that it will seem like more, Susan knew it didn't make sense but complied because she wanted to believe.
She went to open the clam sauce but couldn't locate the can opener. When she inquired as to where it might be the husband said 'Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you.'
The can opener was no mas.
This of course started a ruckus over how the f*ck is she supposed to know anything if nobody tells her and why wasn't it put on the f*cking shopping list?
The shopping list is a constant complaint of Susan's.
At least once a week someone makes Susan scream about something that needs to be replaced but that's not on the list. She'll scream as much as she has to because logic dictates that when people get tired of being screamed at they'll figure out what to do to make it stop.

In the meantime, except for the husband's plan to try busting open the can with a knife, there was still nothing available for dinner.

Susan had onions, so she began sauteing some in a pan. Susan had garlic. Wait, no. Susan didn't have garlic anymore.
Susan had very garlicky salsa that her little sister brought over last weekend when she came three hours late for dinner. Susan also had a roasted eggplant and tomato dish from the same time period sitting in a tupperware in the back of the fridge.
Everything got sauteed with the onions then poured over the linguine and eaten with alot of Parmesan cheese.
It was great, even one of the kids agreed.


An Eleven Year Old With A Cell Phone

Susan's very minor daughter has a cell phone.
Susan refused for more than a year to be baited into any sort of premature cell phone related conversations. Unfortunately, when it became time to change from one disappointing wireless plan to another Susan let the husband talk her into doing something she didn't want to do. He has a much more lenient policy toward giving unnecessary nonsense to children and was able to influence Susan when she was tired.

The daughter accumulated extra charges the very first month because texting every minute of every day adds up.

She also got into the habit of calling Susan at work to find out when she would be leaving. Susan doesn't normally keep her cell phone handy, so the daughter would just call and call and call until Susan noticed the 15 missed calls and called her back.

Another call would usually follow a half hour later to make sure that Susan was en route. Once again, if Susan didn't answer because the phone was lying in the bottom of her bag, the daughter would call and call and call. Then she'd call using someone else's phone.

Susan hates taking calls in the car. Since she doesn't have air conditioning she rides with all the windows down and it makes quite a racket. Rolling the windows up to take a phone call will trigger a total f*cking heat-stroked meltdown.

The other day Susan had already handled the when are you leaving? and are you on your way? phone calls when the phone rang with the where are you? call.
Susan tried to explain that it didn't make any difference where she was because it had already been established that she was on her way home. The conversation lasted until Susan walked through the front door, cell phone in her ear and met the daughter in the livingroom, cell phone in her ear.


22 Things Susan Likes About The Husband

Susan's husband had a birthday the other day, and even though it ended in a zero Susan didn't feel compelled to do anything about it other than make him coffee in the morning and submit to a personal request later on.

Susan isn't much for ceremony, she doesn't require it for herself and she doesn't provide it for others. She's not running out to spend four dollars on a card at the store, so don't wait for one. And, if you've told her more than every single time that you don't like the gift she's chosen for you, she's not giving you any more.

But, after so many years manacled together in wedded bliss, and even though she's got to force him to sit down and read her BLAHg, he still makes her happy.
Here's some reasons why;

  • He makes fantastic meatballs
  • Describing the birth of his son he said 'I never knew how exhausting it was to yell at someone for four hours'
  • He sings
  • He is very adept at winning arguments, but takes it easy on Susan
  • He runs around in the yard with the kids
  • He can be counted on to complete any disagreeable task
  • He tells funny stories from his youth about neighborhood brawling
  • He apologizes by saying 'I've decided to forgive you'
  • He cracks Susan's toes
  • He doesn't build himself up by making others feel small
  • If he doesn't know something, he knows a guy who knows
  • He ingores Susan when she gets all TWISTED and acts like a baby
  • He doesn't worry about things he can't control
  • He makes Susan's coffee exactly the way she likes it
  • He can Lindy
  • He liked the same moody 1975 album that Susan did
  • He thinks Susan is funny
  • He ordered a bushel of clams and didn't know what to do with them so he called up his friend George for suggestions & ended up making fantastic garlicy, steamed clams for Susan's birthday
  • He's impressive with a yo-yo
  • He sez that being mad at Susan is like being mad at a puppy
  • He turns Susan's compost heap every week
  • He raised two smart, independent, caring & wonderful girls before he was married to Susan that have always been terrific big sisters.