5.15.2017

Susan called her mom for Mother's Day and spent half the phone call talking to her dad.
He asked her if she were a history buff (she's not a buff anything) and did she know of the Pulitzer prize winning historian David McCullough? Susan's dad was quite surprised to find that she did not, her knowledge of historical authors being limited to whoever put together the Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, which is an entertaining book regardless.

Susan's dad told her that David McCullough's new book was a collection of speeches he's delivered over the years entitled 'An American Spirit' and he had recently been discussing it on Charlie Rose. Susan thought this sounded like the blandest collection of uninteresting OMG who cares but, she is rarely disappointed in her father's choice of reading material, and she likes Charlie Rose, so she said she'd watch the interview later that evening.

She GTS-ed David McCullough on Charlie Rose and sat enthralled for almost an hour by this series of interviews. Most exciting was his description of the Battle of Brooklyn, in which General Washington & his amateur army of mostly New England farmers got the crap kicked out of them, followed by their miraculous night time escape to Manhattan in which a providential fog is featured. Susan loved his realistic description of Washington as having never commanded an army in his life, who was out-foxed, out-flanked and out-numbered, who made bad mistakes in judgement & suffered terrible defeats but did not quit and learned by experience as he went along.

Oh boy!

Memorable also was the story of the Christmas night crossing of the Delaware River with Washington's modest Continental Army, all in sad shape, who marched through the night and attacked the Hessians (well trained German soldiers hired by Britain) at Trenton.
And they won!
One detail stuck with her; the reports of bloody footprints left in the snow by the shoeless soldiers in that winter of 1776.

Eventually she got tired, bookmarked the interview, and went to sleep. The following morning Susan made a point to call her dad to let him know how much she loved the interview and to discuss her favorite parts.

That evening she climbed into bed with a book that was sitting around since the previous weekend when she brought it home from the thrift store. Blood, Bones & Butter; The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef begins with a description of the author's childhood home on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border.

Here is paragraph two from page one;

That part of the world, heavily touristed as it was, was an important location of many events in the American Revolutionary War. George Washington crossed the Delaware here, to victory at the Battle of Trenton, trudging through the snowy woods and surprising the British in spite of some of his troops missing proper shoes, their feet instead wrapped in newspaper and burlap. 

2.04.2017

Day Three: The Party

Although the travelling companions try to get out and do something every day, this was not a sight-seeing trip, everyone was in town for a family party. Susan's group were not the only ones to swoop in by plane and it was a big deal for the hosts to have everybody together. Susan was just happy to be out of her house for a couple of days.

Day Three began with sunshine, blue skies, big fluffy clouds and Nat's Coffee Shop where Susan ordered the first thing on the menu, Sausage Eggs Benedict. She almost went with the chorizo and eggs but abandoned it when she saw the sausage was home made.

Verdict: The Sausage Eggs Benedict was so Ah-May-ZING! the travelling companions went there the next morning to eat it again.

The little group was on a strict schedule, after breakfast they still had to fit in a trip to Nordstrom Rack, then pop back to the hotel for a quick nap before getting to the party in time to snag a prime parking spot in the driveway.

It was a good party with lots of prosecco, candles, a digital photo booth, a multiple choice game for prizes and an intense chocolate raspberry cake. However, the guests of honor, as far as Susan was concerned, was carried by these two guys in their big paella pan:
 By the end of the evening Susan was shot, she possessed no more energy to talk or drink or eat or even pay attention. All she wanted to do was go back to the hotel and put on her stretchy pants. The party was still going on, so she harnessed all of her powers of persuasion to convince two thirds of her little group to climb into their rental car and deliver her from having to socialize one moment longer.

The End.

Never, never, never give up. 
~ Churchill

2.03.2017

Day Two: Los Angeles

Susan's stomach started growling in the middle of the night. Hours later when she was in a position to do something about it she allowed herself to be blinded by a beautiful donut breakfast. She knew such wonderful sugary nonsense would not sustain her for any length of time, yet that is what she chose. Tales of Susan's misadventure when hungry are legendary in her family, eating a donut in place of a meal doomed her to be hungry again before lunch.
It rained through the entirety of Day Two, a thick fog obscuring any possibility that Susan would see mountains. She spent part of the morning investigating everything in bloom on the California sister's property including something she had only seen in picture books;
a tree on which LEMONS were growing within sight of a tree on which ORANGES were growing!

She saw large bushes of fragrant rosemary studded with little purple flowers, all manner of pink roses and succulents as big as dinner plates.
What kind of a crazy paradise was this?!

The day's plan was to visit the Getty Museum situated above Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains. Their enthusiasm was undeterred even though it was raining pretty substantially, and the beautiful views were obliterated by fog, and they had to walk up the steep hilltop because the tram was delayed until further notice. Yellow umbrellas were provided for all the visitors but Susan declined because she didn't feel like carrying one, so she just got wet.
Once inside Susan traded her photo ID for a headset with an audio tour and took off on her own, stopping where she pleased to listen to the recorded messenger tell her all about whatever she was looking at. Everyone met up at the gift shop where there was much surreptitious purchasing of books for one another.
Later on, the girls all went to an awesome Japanese dollar store where Susan spent $53.96, then to Trader Joe's where a lady with boobs as big as weapons almost knocked over our delicate heroine, then to buy enough prosecco to make it through the evening.

2.02.2017

Day One: Getting To Los Angeles

Susan got up very early to get on a plane and fly through the air all the way out to California. She was spending an expanded weekend with three of her long established pals, including her friend who talks to dead people RS, his husband JB and his sister CS, all attending a party hosted by the siblings' other sister. Susan had visited California as a teenager and forty years later her only recollections were of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Street.

Susan had never travelled with her three friends and while she had a few things she might like to do in California she was very content to meander through the next four days making plans by committee. The shenanigans began at the airport when Susan's friend became woozy with anxiety after his sister was removed from line in order to verify her identification. There was really nothing to worry about, but anxiety laughs at logic and he was a singularly focused obsessive nutball until his sister was returned intact.

The plane was approximately two thirds full, something Susan has never experienced, and passengers were encouraged to change their seats as long as they didn't exceed their original financial commitment. Susan's group kept their aisle accommodations making it very easy to interact or not, as they each were only an elbow away.

The flight was long, Susan read her 280 page book and took a nap, but awoke to find she would still imprisoned in her little seat for 2 hours longer. She journeyed up to the lavatory and while sitting in claustrophobic solitude discovered a teeny pull out ashtray incorporated into the door. OMG, how elderly is this plane?! she thought and found no solace considering that it may just be a 1980 era door and Do they get replacement parts from the junkyard like my mechanic?! She returned to her seat and became engaged in a conversation about Hell with her friend which redirected her attention for a while.

LAX looked like a bus depot mated with the DMV. She tried not to get mugged as she waited for everyone to return from the toilet, views of mountains and palm trees did nothing to elevate the experience. Their plan for the rest of the day was to get settled at the hotel then go to the California Sister's home for dinner. Everyone was hungry so Susan suggested the authentic regional dining spot In-N-Out Burger.  The In-N-Out Burger on Ventura Boulevard has two drive-up windows, as well as a walk-up window which is accessed by walking directly in front of the cars exiting the two drive-up windows. The walk-up window is also utilized by employees bringing trays of tomatoes and rolls from an adjacent structure. So, both patrons & employees are in constant danger of being clipped by any number of vehicles driving through the cramped parking lot. The menu is simple; hamburgers with or without cheese, onions or a bun. Outdoor seating was their only option so the travellers strode through the middle of some pot smoking teens to sit at a cement table and eat their dribbly burgers.

Verdict: Susan would eat one again although she prefers Wendy's Junior Cheeseburger Deluxe

The rest of the day was a blur of hugs, laughter, prosecco & tortilla pizzas with chicken sausage followed by insomnia.

1.30.2017

Susan looked at the gold HAPPY NEW YEAR sign still taped above the doorway and realized it was the last new year she'd spend in her house.

Susan's up for a change, she's known for a while she was leaving but has been soft on the departure date. She's headed four states south where there's a bunch of grandkids and one great grandkid growing up without her singular form of interaction. Susan has proven that she stinks at keeping in touch so her plan is to move where she can bang on their doors & see them in person.

It's a good little house she's giving up. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but she made it a nice place to raise her family, and after the husband died it kept them close while they recovered. She remembers the day it first came into her consciousness, a printed page with a picture, one of a dozen houses she & the husband were considering for that weekend's house hunt. 'It looks stupid' she said then crumpled the page and threw it in the garbage. The husband disagreed, 'humor me' he said, and she did.

The clearing out of excess crap began earlier this month when she took the Xmas wreath off the front door & deposited it directly into the garbage. Then she threw out more Xmas stuff. Then regular stuff. The rule is, if she has to stop & think about it, she gets rid of it. A good rule.

Susan's giving herself till the end of this year, she knows it's a long way off, but she wants one last year in New York before she leaves to grow old and die in North Carolina.

1.12.2017

Susan talked on the phone a whole bunch today, this is her least preferred form of communication, that's why she hates it.

It all started with her Friend Who Talks To Dead People who called for his standard reason; to tell Susan he was thinking of her & he loved her. They discussed how his mom was doing, and her new found softening, a symptom of her advancing age. They strategized when they could squeeze in a trip planning meeting, also known as an excuse to have cocktails, to discuss a long weekend in California next month, and how they would get to JFK on time.

Next Cousin Greg called to conversify* on a number of topics starting with a compliment about Susan's daughter, then imminent, short & long term plans, his woodshop, and their shared grief.

*You may thank Cousin Greg for coming up with this word.

Later Aunt Eileen called to inquire what Susan would like her to bring to a family party on Saturday, shared recollections about keeping company with Susan's mother while she was in the family way with Susan and formulated a plan for a girls-only trip down to see Susan's parents in Florida.

The day ended with a nearly-bed-time call from Susan's friend Cyndi (yes, she really spells her name that way) in which they discussed, for 90 minutes, their kids, their jobs, truthfulness, and voicing compliments.

Susan is aware that this is not the best example of a well constructed BLAHg post, but she's tired and out of practice.

1.01.2017

Happy New Year, guys!

Here's what Susan did on the first day of the new year:

  • Got out of bed when she felt like it after staying up till 3am watching the Downton Abbey marathon
  • Watched more Downton Abbey
  • Ate the last of the panettone for breakfast
  • Met little sister for a winter walk in a fave spot
  • Ducked into a teeny local church and learned how to take a panoramic photo
  • Saw a deer on somebody's lawn
  • Conversated with her Friend Who Talks To Dead People on the phone
  • Conversated with Wild Bill & Harriet on the phone
  • Ate roast pork dinner at little sister's house, fought to keep cats and dogs from climbing all over her then napped through most of Vertigo
  • Made a pear, lemon juice, ginger, spinach, bee pollen & cayenne smoothie for work the next day
  • Thought of her absent husband
  • Thought of her beloved Cousin Lisa