1.31.2022

Susan hates Facebook (exception FB Marketplace), there's no convincing her that anyone's ever said anything worthwhile on FB. She likes Instagram because it's pictures and all the words are easily ignored. She regularly weeds out Instagram accounts for which she's lost enthusiasm. It's not that she stopped liking them, our Susan only has so much attention to spare and has to draw the line. 

Often folks will be charming in their posts but allow politics to peek out in their stories, probably because stories disappear after 24 hours. Susan never cared if you liked a president or hated him, if you were one of the Star Belly Sneetches or the Plain Belly Sneetches, but then 2016 happened. Now if she sees a clip from Fox News on your Instagram that's it. You're out. Even if she likes you. She can't trust you and knows you'd turn her in to the nazi leadership just like Lisel's boyfriend in The Sound of Music. Plus, if you get your news from that cesspool of lies...don't make her say it. OK, you're stoopid.

Let's change the topic to today's anxiety baking; zucchini cake with orange glaze. If you want to feel good immediately, pound some cardamom and anise seeds with a mortar and pestle. You can make a cake with it if you want, although you don't have to, just smelling it is enough.

Oh, look at the time. See you tomorrow.


1.29.2022

Susan's pandemic PTSD has returned her to being an anxious person once again. 
Was it redundant to put returned and once again in the same sentence? It was.
Anyway, she's successfully navigated this condition her entire life without medication, when she sez without medication that's only because she was able to handle things without it, Susan does not have an anti-medication attitude.

She employs a repertoire of things to calm and refocus herself and starts by treating the symptoms. One of her more effective efforts is through the meditative process of baking. Keep your yoga, Susan's got a cake in the oven. 

Susan doesn't enjoy anxiety, it's intrusive, debilitating and unnecessary. It's not like having something to worry about, that she understands, anxiety just attaches itself to whatever's in reach, like some needy f*cker.

For thirty years Susan and her father included a few minutes of anxiety strategizing in almost every phone call, it was nice to have his informed and calm counsel. Growing up he was a sarcastic pain in the ass, but always a good listener & kinda handicapped by being married to Susan's mother, so she forgave him.

Susan and her pal Kate were discussing their anxieties, and each made a pact to do something specific. Susan was going to schedule a counselling appointment within a week. Thus far she hasn't, but made some annual medical appointments instead. Susan will get it taken care of, she likes paying someone to listen to her talk about herself. That's actually her idea of Heaven.

1.21.2022

Susan got her car serviced and was trapped for a time watching HGTV in the waiting room. Susan is years removed from any interest in HGTV with people saying things like beverage center and amazing memories and needing 5 bedrooms, and all their kids have stupid names, and OhMyGawd are we still doing farmhouse?

Susan is also not a cable TV subscriber, she gave that up when she was still in NY, she's strictly streaming service now. There's also a few chateau renovation shows she watches on YouTube as well as a favorite cemetery tour series and a girl in Brooklyn who's serious about plants.

Susan is aware of the brevity of her post today, but hopes you're happy that she posted anyway.

1.16.2022

Susan knows that she hasn't written a post a day like she told you she would. 

Her earnest attempts to write a post a day have shown her that she can't really write a post a day. There are a few factors working against her, the big one is inspiration. Susan's topics can best be described as personal nonsense, they don't come from the newspaper, (whoa, newspaper?) or pop culture (why is her TikTok filled with traffic fatalities and ghosts) and she doesn't respond to well intentioned prompts. In fact, if you want to see how fast Susan won't do something, give her a well intentioned prompt.

Susan also just had her mother in the house for a week which kinda cramped her style. Even though her mother is no longer a demanding person, the limitations of her capabilities create the demand to be within close range to her almost every moment of every day. Susan finds this exhausting...and demanding

Susan can only tolerate being the back-up caretaker, advancing to the front lines when her Little Sister & husband manage to escape for a few days. This trip Susan also had their two dogs in her house, no big deal except the more elderly of the two pooped inside three times, each closer to becoming diarrhea. Managing the poop was relatively easy because Susan has this well priced and fantastically effective little green carpet cleaning machine which she heartily recommends if you're in a similar fix. Susan had to go to Little Sister's house each day to feed the cats (complicated) and take care of the chickens (surprisingly uncomplicated). Again, no big deal, she just had to time it to one of her mother's naps or encounter an old lady standing at the front door when she returned late. 

Whenever it's Susan's job to take care of her mother, she makes it as comfortable as possible and the two fall into an established pattern. Susan stocks the kind of food her mother likes, especially goodies, lest her kitchen be completely ransacked, even the freezer. Upon finishing her carton of milk on a previous caretaking weekend she drank the half & half. (Back then Susan texted her sister She drank my f*cking half & half!) Susan also chooses nightly movies they can watch together, the criteria being something her mother can understand and Susan can tolerate.

Susan spent the week working remotely while her mother napped the daylight hours away. After work Susan made dinner and her mother closed all available curtains so that no one could see inside. Then after dinner they watched their movie, including a new entrant into Susan's personal assessment of the worst movies in the world, Grumpy Old Men. She's glad Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon are dead, they deserve to be after wasting Susan's time with that un-watchable sh*t.

On the last day, Susan was making a pot of meatballs to bring to Little Sister's house along with her mother and the dogs. She had made it through the week, the end was in sight! Susan was opening four cans of plum tomatoes when her crappy-replacement-for-a-previous-workhorse-of-a-can-opener started giving her the usual problem. As it traveled its way around the lid of the can it got hung up on the paper label and Susan was really getting tired of this sh*t. 

She hit critical mass on can #3.  

A stream of the foulest of foul words came out of Susan's mouth and didn't stop. She was only able to work her way through half of those last two lids so she beat and beat and BEAT THEM with the can opener. With every blow juice and plum tomato carcass pieces flew everywhere, yet she continued beating them and cursing while being very careful not to get her fingers near the sharp edges, years ago she learned that lesson on a can of black beans.

She beat and cursed and beat and cursed until the last bit of plum tomato was out of the can and on her walls. While this was going on her mother came out to investigate, and upon seeing Susan completely enraged and 90% out of control, she stood there and watched. Susan wanted to scream at her too, but she didn't. Instead she rinsed the cans out, put them in the recycling container, wiped the tomato off of her stove, counter, walls, cabinets, microwave and herself, then made the sauce. Later she threw out the can opener and  ordered an electric one from Jeff Bezos.

1.14.2022

Susan, who's on record claiming not to have needed alcohol to get through the pandemic, has had a glass of wine every night since Saturday, coinciding with a week of baby-sitting duties for her mother. A glass a night is no big deal, but a week with her mother underfoot is. Tonight, she was down to her last inch of pinot noir which was positioned within knocking over range when Susan knocked it over. It was impressive how far and wide an inch of red wine was able to spray the room including a smart bomb ability to hit anything that would stain.

Susan busted out her favorite all purpose homemade cocktail of vinegar + water + liquid soap + essential oil originally introduced by her pal Yuna. Yuna would saw a roll of paper towels in half, stuff it into a coffee can, pour the homemade cocktail into the can, poke a hole in the plastic lid, then feed the paper towels through the hole a la disinfecting wipes. Susan prefers to use hers as a spray, she has other homemade cleaners meant for specific purposes, but this one's great in emergencies.

Anyway, Susan crawled around on her hands and knees for twenty minutes locating every red dot she could and replacing the smell of red wine with vinegar and essential oil.

That's it, that's all she's got for ya today; she knocked a glass over and cleaned it up.

1.11.2022

You can tell when Susan gets tired of BLAHg-ing because she kinda just writes one more sentence and stops. Like yesterday when she was b*tching about coffee, she took a look at the time and pulled the plug. If she continued she would've said that she opts for other hot drinks when there's a high probability of coffee disappointment. Our Susan loves chai and often makes her own on the stovetop (black tea, cardamom, fennel, cinnamon, peppercorns, with an abundance of fresh ginger), out in the wild her flexible chai standards accommodate those that may run sweet or spicy or milky or even a bit savory. 

Susan's coffee can only be served to her one way; strong and perfect. 

At home she grinds a few days worth of beans at a time which she keeps in the cabinet NOT the freezer, and employs the pour-over method using a scale to measure exactly 12.15 ounces of water into her favorite cup (a gift from Cousin Caroline). Until recently she used a ceramic pour over filter created by her ceramicist daughter, but that ended when Susan carelessly allowed it to fall to its death from the drying rack. Now she uses a plastic Melita from the supermarket and reusable linen filters. She's not married to the linen filters, she just likes that they never run out.

Giving tea equal time Susan loves this smoky lapsang souchong which smells intoxicatingly like the road in front of her house is being re-tarred, and a loose clove tea in a pretty tin from Pearl River Mart as well as this honey-lemon-ginger-cinnamon tea that her pal Nicole hipped her to.

Oh, will you look at the time!

1.10.2022

Susan hasn't had a good cup of coffee outside of her own kitchen since she moved to NC. (For the sake of this complaint she's not including two very reliable American multinational coffee franchises). The best she's had is an acceptable cup, which is not really acceptable at all. Of course Susan hasn't been everywhere in her adopted state, but over the last three years she's been to enough independently operated places with the word coffee in their title she figured they should know how to pour hot water over beans and make her happy. Susan has been heard to describe what she wants in a cup of coffee as 'A five dollar Brooklyn pour over'. Nothing fancy, no flavors or sugars or anything other than full fat cream. And if she even gets a whiff of hazelnut or pumpkin spice it is her solemn vow that she will vomit right there, so step back.

Susan is not of the attitude that everything south of New Yawk is somehow not as good, people down here come from everywhere else and bring their talents with them. She admits to missing the plentiful-ness of everything in NY, but she can get whatever she wants, she just has to find out where it is. 

Except the f*cking coffee.

1.08.2022

Susan keeps a list of her recurring monthly expenses in order of their auto-withdrawal tacked in a secluded spot in her kitchen. She finds this list comforting, and isn't worried about anyone seeing it unless they like to poke around in non-descript areas of utilitarian rooms. Plus, who cares anyway? 

She's able to live within the confines of her salary as long as she doesn't spend more than she has in the bank. The other day Susan updated her refrigerator list and used that opportunity to investigate where the rest of her money goes each month. The holidays and a few unexpected domestic infrastructure emergencies skewed the results, but that notwithstanding, Susan learned she needs to spend less money. 

Susan's not in the habit of following a budget, she's got a natural thriftiness that keeps her largely in line. For instance she's outfitted much of her house from FB Marketplace & estate sales, but every once in a while she's got to spend $150 on a fancy electric kettle that she never really liked

A good portion of Susan's extraneous expenses involve food and gas, but she's also got a bit of a glittery disco ball habit. Anyway, Susan's considering a budget, or maybe a spending fast, she's not yet sure. She's very good at setting limits and sticking to them until she loses interest or revises them. 

One of the biggest reasons Susan moved to NC was to escape the financial stranglehold of her beloved NY, she makes less money where she is but things cost less, so it's kinda a draw. Only cheese and dry cleaning don't cost less. Recently Susan purchased a wool coat from the thrift store, she took a chance on the color but it didn't bother her to think she may end up re-donating it. Then she had it dry cleaned. 
Now she has to wear it.

1.06.2022

Susan's not sure she has anything interesting to BLAHg about today. Wait! Susan always has something interesting to say, more accurately she just lacks creative energy today. 

She took a break from being unshowered and living in the same clothes for the last two days to emerge as a clean and dressed person in a big, bejeweled necklace (fake) and sparkly Rebecca Minkoff boots (estate sale). In fact she looked so nice that she was complimented for looking so nice. 

In the evening she went to her Little Sister's house to babysit her mother (topic for another day) and then sing happy birthday to her brother in law and eat icecream cake. She was sent home with a very on-sale plant gift and immediately repotted it, mixing up her own soil, drenching the newly potted plant, and leaving it to drain in the dishwasher. Susan has a renewed enthusiasm for plants since purchasing a 1971 house with a lot of windows. The previous owner died in the house but that doesn't bother Susan at all. Anyway, she'll tell you about the house when she has creative energy. Don't get all excited, there's no ghost stories, it's just a regular house with a surplus of unfinished projects.


1.05.2022

Another symptom of Susan's Pandemic PTSD is her prolonged lack of motivation to get stuff done. Some folks might argue that this resembles her normal state and they wouldn't necessarily be wrong. However, it's going on for a really long time and Susan doesn't feel like she can change it. She's not non-functioning, it's just she can't do some things at all

Work has become a real problem, she takes lots of breaks to go out into the yard and throw sticks around with the dog (sometimes getting bitten), or to the bathroom to scrub the mineral deposits from her toilet with a pumice stone, or scroll through FB Marketplace searching for a tall rice paper lamp to put in the northwest corner of her den, or check the possibility that one her plants need water.  But, she always returns to her job of pressing buttons on a keyboard until she can't stand it one second longer, then gets up to look out the window with her gold opera glasses (a Christmas present from her Little Sister for when they see Hamilton from the cheap seats) or make a snack of chocolate chips mixed directly into a jar of peanut butter, or check her traps for dead mice (usually empty).

Sometimes feeding herself is an issue, like she just went thru a period where any meal not provided at her sister's house (many are) was a bowl of cereal. Quite honestly she was just in a mood to eat cereal combined with being in a mood not to cook anything. 

Susan has a ton of tiny little home projects, most completely within her ability and not more than a few hours work, but she just can't. She wants to, but she can't. She is considering making a list of everything that needs to be done, so maybe she's getting ready to get ready. We'll see.

Anyway, even though Susan took a nap directly after she logged off work today, she's still tired and is going to say seeya tomorrow.


1.04.2022

Susan remembers with nostalgic fondness how she used to pull out a book and read at every available opportunity; in the evening after her toddlers were in bed, on the train during her commute to NYC, in the bleachers at her son's basketball games, during her daughter's guitar lessons, and any time she waited in the car for someone. She still reads every day, but not books, and not in that lovely leisurely way she enjoyed.

Susan's reading is all online now, the laptop for work, or the phone for articles that interest her. Recently she watched this version of MacBeth and whenever she got tripped up by the language or Scottish accent she paused the movie, pulled up Shakespeare's text, then headed to Cliff's Notes to see what she missed. 'Twas very handy.

Susan also encountered a helpful article about how to get in the habit of reading more. Everything starts with keeping a book on us (or e-reader), then reading for however long we have. Possibly reading a few books at a time so there's always something to suit our mood sounds like something Susan would never do, although she has friends who read two books at a time. 

Graphic novels were recommended for a reading rut. Susan is a tremendous fan of graphic novels and has her pal Mikey to thank. He lent her his series of  Preacher novels, which she held onto for like two years, and didn't really like, but she loved the format and has been seeking them out ever since. In fact, Susan thinks you should go out and find yourself a graphic novel tomorrow, she knows your library has them. 

There is no difference between books, e-readers or the phone, however one prefers to read is fine.

A final suggestion was to incorporate reading into our existing daily rituals; instead of scrolling through the phone while we have coffee, read.  And if we don't like a book, stop reading it. Susan absolutely agrees with this and has zero allegiance to that which bores her.

Anyway, Susan is kinda discombobulated by reintroducing her daily BLAHg-ing and needs a little more time to incorporate actual physical books into her schedule. She thinks an hour a day is a good start, and will work out the logistics sometime this week.

Thanks for sticking with her, she'll be back tomorrow.

1.03.2022

Susan has changed over the last two years, she thinks it's due to a combination of advancing decrepitude and Pandemic PTSD. For a while she thought she may be a little ADHD, but those symptoms seemed much more severe than Susan's so she abandoned that diagnosis.

Anyway, Susan doesn't do details anymore. At the very least she's not reliable about details, so it's best to assume she's going to get something wrong. A recent example was when she showed up at her sister's house all decked out for New Year's Eve on December 30th. 

Another manifestation of Susan's current state of mind are the limited amount of things she cares about. It's like her brain doesn't produce enough caring to get through the day, so she distributes it to an established list of recipients and is dismissive about the rest. To her credit, she is able to open up and add extra things to care about, but not if they come with responsibilities.

She can no longer do two things at once (who can, really?). If she's home following a simple recipe displayed directly in front of her while having a hands-free phone conversation, she's leaving out an ingredient. 

Working in isolation has turned her into the type of employee she hates, one who just does the minimum. On her annual evaluation she answered a question about her future goals by saying she had no future goals. She can't even fake it anymore. 

That's one of the biggest symptoms; Susan can't fake it anymore. The best she can hope for is to keep her mouth shut, and sometimes she can't do that much. Even if she can, her face is right there to give her away, like she's a toddler and can't keep from spilling the secret that she hates this sh*t.

Lest she not reveal herself to be a total loser, there are still tons of things Susan does regularly and competently; she gets enough sleep, pays her taxes, waters her plants, maintains her relationships (with enthusiasm), and has hope for the future as long as that illiterate nazi c*cks*cker doesn't get back into office.

1.02.2022

Susan used to write then she stopped. 

She didn't stop wanting to write, she just stopped writing, and then went all in with the non-writing. Susan doesn't know why she stopped, she figures it's got something to do with depression, but a few small personal revelations over the last 24 hours have made her think she can give it a go again. She's super out of practice and is going to schedule time every day to write her BLAHg. Since writing doesn't necessarily mean posting, she's going to commit to posting every day. Susan's not sure for how long, but is comfortable leaving that up in the air.

Fun facts about Susan's personality: She absolutely requires the structure of a schedule in order to get anything done. She also thinks she has pandemic PTSD from working remotely for twenty two months.

Just in case any of you are fixin' to be worried about Susan, she asks that you save it for someone else. Neither alcohol nor retail consumption have increased over this time period although she may have gained ten pounds in cookie weight and bought some second hand books. She even responded to the discovery that there was not a dribble of water coming out of her faucets with calm and decisive measures. 

So, happy 2022 guys, Susan will meet you back here tomorrow.

1.01.2020

First Complaint Of The New Year

Hello guys!
How did you like that one post Susan wrote for all of last year? Impressive, eh?
Her *BLAHg-ing commitment is obviously for sh*t. She doesn't even know why you're bothering right now, but do what you want.

For the new year Susan made a list of things she can not endure. She'll start with one now so as not to tax herself, then maybe follow it up with another later.

First are true crime podcast recommendations. One can actually hear her hopeful excitement being extinguished as the words true crime penetrate her little puppy brain, as if no other podcast category exists. She's received so many true crime podcast recommendations that her eyes immediately roll up, around and backwards. She can't even stand to use those two words together anymore. From now on she'll just write TC, and capitalize it so it looks intentional instead of just tc which looks like it could be a mistake.

Mercifully, her daughter, who is as close to perfection as possible, recently gave her a non TC suggestion. It's a good one, not perfect, but there were three or four stories which Susan's been thinking about since she heard them.
Listen to the first story:
RISK

Of course RISK makes Susan think of her premier, tip-top, numero uno fave THE MOTH RADIO HOUR. For years any time a friend would tell Susan they were bored, lonely, or had to travel for work she'd say 'The Moth will keep you company'.
CLICK HERE for one of Susan's favorite stories.

MODERN LOVE are stories of love, loss and redemption which started out as a column in the New York Times. Susan has been reading the NYT since she was a kid & almost started a fistfight over her undying allegiance, just ask her friend ZH.

HOW I BUILT THIS are interviews with the creators of the biggest deal companies around, and how they started. Literally step one, where they came up with the idea, how did they start, find the cash, their failures, everything. Susan knows what you're thinking this sounds boring. Well it's not, and stop being so dismissive.

Susan's newest podcast discovery is ARIA CODE in which one iconic operatic aria is explored from three different points of view afterwhich the aria is heard in its entirety. Susan doesn't know sh*t about opera and she loves it.

OK, there you have it. First post for 2020 is in the books.


*For anyone who needs a refresher, BLAH + blog = BLAHg

4.30.2019

Last Day of April

Hey guys, long time no see. Did you miss our Susan? She thought about you every day.

Susan's back to work now, she has what appears to be a nice job working for a big deal place that requires her to get up before 6am, which is her least favorite hour. Prior to rejoining the working world she used her seven months of unemployment to perfect the poached egg, entertain a steady line up of houseguests, drive back & forth to visit the old folks in Florida, and watch Cousin Greg get married in Brooklyn. She also discovered that she lost all her professional skills.

Susan's Little Sister packed up her family & moved to a nearby neighborhood, which is pretty exciting because now Susan doesn't always have to go everywhere all by herself.  A bunch of crappy things happened too, like Susan's little apartment got flooded, her son had four toes amputated, she had to turn over $1700 to replace a doctor's bumper and her dad died.

Susan's lovely friend *Kate, who has a knack for communicating the exact right thing, sent this poem to Susan:


Shifting the Sun by Diana Der-Hovanessian

When your father dies, say the Irish
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Welsh
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians

When your father dies, say the Canadians
you run out of excuses.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Indians
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the British,
you join his club you vowed you wouldn’t.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever
and you walk in his light.


*Ph.D., professor, writer, mom, conversational user of words like covetousness and prolix.

10.06.2018

Susan was walking the dog this evening and turned when she heard the husband call her name.
Immediately she realized her mistake. She looked over at the person who had done the calling; he was the opposite of a big burly Irishman, and he definitely wasn't calling Susan. Still, she stood there soaking in the little split second in which everything was suspended and she was simply about to respond to her husband.

It's a whole new world for our gentle heroine. Susan has done what she's been threatening to do and moved herself down to North Carolina, the land of trees, music and strange bugs. She's given up the cushy do-what-you-want elbow room of her former house and now rents apartment 1-C with her roommate Lucy the restricted breed dog.

Even though Susan has traded in square footage and a bit of privacy, she still likes where she landed. Unfortunately she's got a couple of things driving her nuts, like the bugs (see above) and the neighbor who smokes on the patio all day every day, completely gassing Susan's little outdoor paradise. But, she has a two prong plan; incense and bedtime prayers for the unseen neighbor to hurry up and die of cancer. Oh yeah, die. Susan's not gonna be nice about this.

Since Lucy no longer has a fenced in yard to roam, roll around in, and poop throughout, Susan has to walk her. First thing in the morning the girls are up and out, Susan enjoys the early morning walk but after a while it's very boring to watch Lucy smell every browned patch, plop of duck poop and lamp post base. And when another dog comes in to view they turn around and head the other way. Lucy is not a lover of other animals.

Anyway, that's enough for today. Susan doesn't want to strain herself with the first BLAHg post in three, um four months. She's missed BLAHg-ing and thought about it every day. The husband calling to her from beyond was just the prodding that she needed.

In the meantime she hopes everyone has a grand day.

6.02.2018

Susan did a bunch of crazy things on Saturday and they all involved being outside. Now, Susan is a big fan of being outside as long as she is in a seated position and out of direct sunlight. This particular day was special because there were a number of miserable tasks our Susan wanted done and no one to whom she could delegate them.

In no particular order this is what she did:

  • Ascended a ladder (a ladder!) to pull debris out of her gutters
  • Reinstalled an 8 foot downspout which had been lying on the side of the house all winter, and by reinstalled Susan means that she improvised a solution using available resources 
  • Removed screens and washed windows
  • Remained bent over for an extended period of time while she pulled weeds out by their roots
  • Relocated broken tree branches
  • Raked leaves then put them into a wheelbarrow and transported them to the compost pile
  • And lastly, lopped off vines and branches of weeds that had grown into trees
The ordeal left Susan dirty, itchy, sweaty, punctured & bloody. If you wish to read about a previous instance in which Susan did 'yard work' please CLICK HERE.


5.28.2018

Even though she didn't think she had much to do Susan managed to fill her Memorial Day weekend with friends and family and firepits and food and getting big cocktail rings stuck on her finger in Nordstrom Rack and filling her hallway with boxes of everything she's getting rid of and being remembered by a waitress who only served her once (even what she ate!) and listening to a 17 piece band play Frank Sinatra music with Aunt Eileen & Uncle Joe and buying a Craigslist bike with her daughter from Ravi in the rain and buying yet another polka dot dress  and meeting Mitchie's family and eating brownies for the first time in five months and making a couple of decisions about things and enjoying a meandering trip with her little sister & bro-in-law out east and visiting her beloved Cousin Lisa & Bob Smith where they rest with more than two hundred thousand of their brothers and sisters and having a nice picnic at The Peconic River Herb Farm where she considered making an overpriced impulse purchase of a handmade light up tin sign but opted for three succulents instead before ending the day at Melissa & Andy's house for a family barbecue and some turkey watching.  

5.22.2018

Susan went food shopping on her way home from work. Her supermarket provides her with a hand held scanning gun so she can scan each item as she drops them into her cart. When she's done she just rolls up to the Do It Yourself checkout, lets the register read her gun, all her purchases appear on the screen, then she pays & she's out the door. No more lines or cashiers or ringing things up or packing groceries into bags. She just pays & goes. If she's really smart she'll have brought her big blue IKEA bag with her, but she rarely does.

On this trip her scanner beeped but did not record all of her groceries. She figured this out at the Do It Yourself checkout when her total was roughly fifty dollars cheaper than it should have been. The disembodied voice from within the register told her you may scan additional items now.
F*ck that. She grumbled under her breath & started sorting through her cart to figure out what had not been recorded by the scanner. She looked around, there was usually an employee who would pop over at the first sign of trouble, but instead the disembodied voice told her if you are ready you may finish and pay.

Finish and pay fifty dollars less, yes please.

No one came to keep Susan from stealing groceries, but neither did Susan stop herself. Instead she paid, turned in her gun and cooly headed for the parking lot. She knew she was wrong but kept going. Machine error was not her responsibility. She repeated this lie to herself a few times.

Susan went home, unpacked her groceries, sat down at the computer and made a sixty dollar contribution to Long Island Cares, an organization started by Harry Chapin to feed the hungry.

5.21.2018

Susan didn't shower this weekend, she brushed her teeth and washed her face but that was it. She spent a cold rainy Saturday & gorgeous warm Sunday clearing out her basement.

Remember when Susan threatened to be out of New York by April? Or before that, in January? Well, she wasn't ready, so she took a little more time.
Now our Susan is prepared to starting behaving like she's moving. She's been chucking her extraneous belongings for over a year, but last week she packed her first box of things to bring with her. She marked it KEEP to reduce any possibility of confusion.

Over the previous two weeks she purged half the books she owns, now she just has what fits on her shelves plus a little extra. And her cookbooks.

This weekend was the basement.

The basement is serious territory filled with big plastic bins, furniture, tools, art supplies, Christmas crap, photographs and petrified spiders. Susan dragged the big plastic bins up the stairs and went thru them one by one, getting rid of almost everything they held. Once empty she threw them in the shower, put them on the deck to dry, then stacked them in a corner. They will eventually transport whatever she's taking.

The Christmas crap was done in no time, everything went except the little light up Santa bought in Maine with her friend Kate, the plastic sandwich baggie wreath that Susan's daughter made in grade school, and a modest tin of decorations.

The photographs were going to take some time. Susan had previously reduced 4 shoeboxes of photographs down to one, but now she had entire photo albums to consider. One was easy, she looked through it, smiled at the pictures, then tossed it into the garbage. Goodbye.

4.23.2018

Susan owns a new, modern, high functioning phone!

Having packages Fed-exed to one's front door in order to sit unattended for hours is insane, but also very convenient. So, there it was on her stoop waiting for the first person who came along to pick it up. Luckily that person was our Susan.

Susan is not one for figuring out electronics and planned to bring her new phone to the New Phone Store the following day. There's one right down the block from work and the last time she was there the New Phone Store employee was very helpful. She looked forward to having him help her again.

Upon arrival she did not see her preferred employee, but another stepped up to assist her. She handed over both old and new phones to have done whatever was needed in order to have all her contacts, pictures and notes transferred, as well as the four apps her old phone allowed her to download. Her contribution to this process was to have charged the phone overnight.

The New Phone Store employee worked silently pressing buttons, asking her passwords, none of which she could remember, but which he ultimately was able to circumvent. He continued for a couple of wordless minutes pressing buttons and could have been emptying her bank account for all she knew.

She took notice that each of his fingernails were dirty.

How unusual. Other than her auto mechanic, Susan doesn't normally encounter people who maintain their fingernails in such a state. It was certainly poor hygiene and terrible customer service. She couldn't look at him and wondered how quickly would she be able to plunge her phones into bleach after they were returned to her, and then her own hands after she touched them?

Susan turned completely away from the filthy fingered employee and searched the store for absolutely anything else to look at. There were only two employees; the one emptying Susan's bank account, and another helping a couple next to her. There was a third person, a woman in her forties playing with an iPad-looking thing. She appeared to be standard issue I don't care anymore with unkempt hair, jeans, sneakers, a sweatshirt and...gasp! a name badge.
She was an employee? Heavens!

What kind of a place was this?

Enough with those two. Susan really wants to tell you about her phone. Not the phone so much, but what it has taught her about herself. But first, a sidebar:

Susan had been driving an elderly BMW since February of 2014. Prior to this she spent two years sharing a car with the husband, and by sharing a car she means that the husband had primary custody. Please feel free to refresh your memory by reading THIS and THIS
Susan liked the elderly BMW, but she didn't love it and only held onto it for misguided sentimental reasons. Each year brought a reduction in automotive quality of life; the motors in the front windows failed and were repaired twice, the CD player refused to either play or vacate the last CD inserted,
the side view mirrors moved on their own and the little inside knob to adjust them didn't work necessitating Susan to manually fix them by hanging out the windows at red lights, dashboard sensors came on & disappeared, the front directional lights were always blowing out and the driver side seat warmer burned Susan's bottom.
There were also BIG under the hood repairs, but you get the idea.
The straw that broke Susan's back came when the car refused to unlock or lock without an additional thousand dollar expenditure.
Two weeks later she had a slightly used new car, one in which everything worked, with a sunroof and bluetooth speakers for perfectly clear hands-free conversations, one with a warranty, and one with which she fell immediately in love.

Worth noting: she cried out loud like a baby widow the first morning she drove it to work. 

The car has taught Susan that even though it was nice not to have a car payment for a number of years, it's also nice to spend money on something that is worth having.

Susan never cared about bluetooth until she experienced the ability to hear every word of her phone conversations. Did you see how Susan underlined that sentence? It's important to her. She often would just hang up in the middle of a phone call exhausted because she couldn't raise the speaker phone volume to be loud enough or shove the phone into her ear far enough to hear properly.

For the price of two medium sized repairs Susan purchased an extended warranty and drives worry free because Toyota is in charge of fixing any disasters. Toyota is like her husband now. 

Back to the phone.

Month after year Susan put off upgrading her circa 2014 phone.

Worth noting: The husband purchased this phone for himself in his final month on earth and Susan took it over after he died. See a pattern?

Susan didn't want a super fancy phone because she didn't think she used one thoroughly enough to require such high standards. She's not a teenager & didn't listen to music or watch videos, or play games. All she really did was text and talk and look stuff up and read her emails & the NY Times and get places using Google maps and and listen to NPR and call an Uber and do her banking and keep track of everything she wants to remember and wake herself up in the morning and figure out what she can't eat on Weight Watchers and play her wireless speakers at home (thanks Cousin Greg!) and look at Instagram and take pictures.

Susan likes taking pictures and needed a phone with a good camera. So she got a good upgrade. 

In the past five days the phone has taught Susan that she should have a new, modern and high functioning phone to take better pictures and listen to Morning Edition as she showers, and hear conversations with tremendous clarity, and store all sorts of information without being threatened with lack of storage, and organize all her pictures into easy accessibility, and if an app interests her she can download it like magic just because she wants to. 

And why shouldn't she? 

4.16.2018

Susan just concluded a week in rainy, sunny, thundery, rainy, chilly and sunny again Florida visiting the Old Folks. Since we last checked in with them the Old Folks have gotten older, but so has Susan and everyone else in the world.

Susan's travelling companions included four of her immediate and much loved family members, many if not all, have been featured here. It was a lovely trip with one exception, the amount of talking most of these companions inflicted upon our poor Susan was oppressive. She has always maintained a low tolerance for unnecessary and redundant conversation, and this low tolerance was tested on the way to the airport.

Susan suspected that Chris the Uber driver tried to discourage, what will henceforth be known as The Talking, by playing his AC/DC music loud. This crowd didn't care, everyone talked at once, over each other, and about nothing particularly interesting. Chris the Uber driver turned his music louder. The Talking got louder.

Side bar: The lone person exempt from this behavior knows who she is.

The Talking continued all week long. Under normal circumstances Susan leaves the area when a conversation disinterests her, but being trapped in the car while everyone fights for the right to have words spill out of their mouth was agonizing. Susan stared out the window wishing the world would end.

She knows what you're thinking, where are your headphones old girl? Well, Susan is not in the habit of using headphones, so she never has a pair with her. She did purchase a cheap pair of earbuds while on her trip but they did not work effectively in her circa 2014 phone. Susan has been aware for a while that she should get herself a new phone; the battery drains quickly, she can't download a new app without first having to delete an old one & every day she gets a message that she's running out of storage space. Otherwise the phone works great.

There is no f*cking way that Susan is ever again going to allow herself to be trapped in an environment of unrestrained blathering. When she got home she ordered a new phone & bought a pair of headphones. She even negotiated a waiver of the thirty dollar upgrade fee (which is total bullsh*t anyway).

Oh, and she found this in her luggage:
TSA touched her dirty underpanties.


4.04.2018

When last we left off Susan was telling you about three ghost stories told to her by two friends. She still owes you the story of George, but she's not in the mood for ghost stories right now so she'll save it for another day.

A lot went on last year, not everything got twistedsusaned. 

She continues to experience little coincidental things which she feels are not coincidences. Most recently a senior gentleman sang to her the entirety of 'You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby', and Susan was struck by the feeling that it was the husband being sweet to her from afar. Susan's absent husband sang to her for more than thirty years and even though this was not one of his usual songs she's not going to nitpick over the details.

Susan lost two long standing friends, both were in their fifties which she thinks is pretty rotten because that is her current decade of being. What's going on with all these principal people in Susan's life dying years ahead of schedule? Who the f*ck knows.

Anyway, there was mostly good stuff that happened to Susan during the year, here's a partial list;

She went to Texas hill country to visit her pal Cyndi (yes she really spells her name that way), it was a super nice trip. Here's a picture:

She went to Paris with her sister in September and LOVED it. Here's a picture:

At the same time Susan's daughter went to Morocco and had her phone & ID stolen on day three. Picture:

Then came the new year:

In January Susan went down south to see her Navy man.
No picture.

In February Susan marked three years without her beloved Cousin Lisa.

On Saint Paddy's day Aunt Eileen hosted a big shindig and Susan ate Shepherd's Pie and drank Guinness with her cousins & her cousins' cousins.

On Easter Sunday (or as Susan likes to call it, Sunday) mother & daughter had a date at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, but since only the Star Magnolias were blooming in the bereft & barren New York spring, they had plenty of time to walk next door to the Brooklyn Museum and spend hours at the David Bowie exhibit.
(Susan's review: Bloody brilliant!).
Worth noting: Susan also liked Mecca Journeys.

Anyway, there we are, totally up to date.


11.17.2017

Susan heard three ghost stories the other night told by the two friends who experienced them. 

Rob's story involved shadowy forms outside his window that would float inside and disappear into the corner of the living room, up near the ceiling. Their appearance became so commonplace he would casually say 'Oh, the shadows are back again' if he saw them while he was on the phone. None of this alarmed him believing there was a physical explanation for which he was simply unaware, except once. Back then he had a dog & one night the dog's barking woke him up, when Rob emerged from his bedroom he saw that the dog was barking up at the corner where the shadows always went. 
'That scared me.'

Mark had two stories. 

The first one took place in the basement of an old house in which a dentist's office had been established. The house sat on Main Street with the Cedar Hill Cemetery behind it. Mark arrived to fix something in the basement, the staff directed him from the top of the stairs after which he went down and got to work. The basement was made of stone in the way old basements are, and Mark was there for approximately fifteen minutes when he saw a man dressed in black wearing a fancy hat walk from the doorway, cross behind him and disappear into the wall. He walked as if he was angry and he glared at Mark as he passed.
Mark hot-footed it up the stairs where the staff all asked Did you see him? Mark made such a commotion with his answer that the dentist came out and asked him to quiet down. Mark left. 'I made my partner go down there and get my tools.' 

Related: If you recall, last Saturday Susan went to a little local cemetery to say hello to someone she used to know. Well it was that cemetery.

Mark's next story is about George the ghost but it'll have to wait till tomorrow.

11.16.2017

All day long Susan thought that Thursday was Friday, it started on Wednesday night when she thought it was Thursday night. Even when she looked at her calendar her eyes kept zeroing in on Friday's schedule, not Thursday's.

Despite that confusion & the morning's downpour of rain & her ongoing poison ivy she had a good day. It started when she allowed herself the luxury of sleeping till almost 8:30am. Then there was a Friendsgiving planned at work which meant homemade FOOD! Susan is still observing her month of no additional sugar but she treated herself to the apples from inside a slice of apple pie. 

After work there was an impromptu gathering of some friends where personal ghost stories were exchanged. Susan doesn't have any ghost stories, but two in her group did. She'll tell you about them tomorrow.

11.15.2017

OMG, Susan has poison ivy again. Arggh! 
For the last three years she has gotten poison ivy at the end of November which keeps her scratching for two weeks. Always on her right arm. She knows this because she has intended, on the first of the last two Decembers, to have a bit of her beloved Cousin Lisa's handwriting tattooed inside her right wrist but has been thwarted each year by the damned poison ivy!
It is Susan's recollection that Cousin Lisa was not a fan of tattoos, so naturally Susan assumes it is she manipulating things from her current control center, keeping Susan's delicate skin from being permanently pigmented.
Go ahead Cousin Lisa, do what you can, Susan will wait you out. 
And thanks for keeping in touch.

Read more about Susan's poison ivy HERE.

11.14.2017


Cousin Greg assisted Susan in the relocation of her daughter's bed from her house to the daughter's off campus bedroom, and by assisting Susan means he did everything. Cousin Greg lives approximately fifteen minutes away from Susan's daughter which is pretty convenient, but he also lives an hour from Susan in the opposite direction which is pretty INconvenient. So, he had to drive an hour away from his house, disassemble the bed, pack it nicely in his truck then drive back to fifteen minutes beyond where he originated, carry all the bed components & mattress up a crazy amount of steps and reassemble everything. Susan contributed by keeping all the bolts and screws in a bag and remembering to bring them with her. She also provided the energy Cousin Greg would require for this ordeal in the form of an Egg McMuffin.

Not missing an opportunity: While Cousin Greg was in Susan's house she also had him hump a Queen sized mattress up twelve steps.

Susan told Cousin Greg he was like her rubber husband, which now that she sees it in writing doesn't sound very flattering, but means that he helps her do things that she can't do alone like that disc of rubber which helps weak-armed ladies to grip & twist open jar tops.

Anyway, during their three hour adventure Susan got to see her daughter, see where she lives and meet her roommate, MD. Susan also got presents from the daughter's trip to Morocco! 

Related: remind Susan to tell you about when her daughter went to Morocco at the same time Susan went to Paris.

After Susan kissed everyone goodbye she went directly to meet up with Christine and Crazy Debbie, together they helped a mutual friend by getting her house ready for Thanksgiving company. At the end of the day all Susan wanted was to be back in her own house and lie on the couch with Lucy. So that's what she did.