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.