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.