Saturday morning Susan's family did something they never did before, ever. They got up, brushed their teeth and went to the mall. Now, Susan's been to the mall with the daughter and she's pretty sure that the husband has been to the mall with the son, but they've never gone together in a pack.

They divided by gender as soon as they got there and went in different directions. Susan was happy to follow the middle school daughter around as she looked for clothes. She favors a wholesome sporty style so there's no arguing with her mother over fit or length and there's no boobs yet to hang out.

Susan spent the afternoon immersed in pre-teen girls, most shopping with their mothers, and saw that they all shared the same body language. First, everybody played with their hair. Many made eye contact but held their heads slightly downward and most moved as though they didn't want to disturb the space around them. One looked disapprovingly at another's choice in footwear, but Susan does that too.
Sidebar: Susan recalls eyeballing a fellow class mother in cleavage and heels during a trip to the ecology center at the local beach.

The son only needed wrestling gear and tee shirts with skulls, so he & the husband were done quickly. Most of their time was spent on comfortable seating in the middle of the mall. This didn't stop the son from texting
r u almost done? repeatedly making Susan move that much more slowly.

Susan was driven out of a stinky specialty bath and body shop by the intolerable stench of too many candles, plug in fragrances and lotions. She tasted the smell in her mouth.

Susan drank a seltzer while watching her family eat Food Court food then broke free long enough to fall in love with a pair of tall appliqued boots that didn't come in her size. She consoled herself by purchasing Patti Smith's book, and her beloved expensive decorating magazine then ran into a favorite girlfriend while standing on line.

On the way home there was a trip through Trader Joe's where Susan stocked up on a six month supply of Spicy Peach Salsa as well as bags and bags and bags of frozen dumplings.

The day ended with double sleepovers allowing Susan & the husband to escape to cousin Lisa's house for the game of unspeakable fun, Taboo where Susan discovered something that the husband can NOT do; give clues.


Susan's modest fan base is well aware that Susan likes to bake. Susan is in the habit of keeping a decorative box filled with biscotti for her personal dunking enjoyment. Biscotti is an outstanding cookie choice because they're good enough for company, you can't tell when they get stale and no one in her house ever paid attention to them. Until recently.

Susan has a short repertoire of biscotti she bakes.
No one gave them a second thought until she added chocolate biscotti with cranberries (feel free to refer back to this post for the recipe, it's very easy) and found her family lined up outside the oven. Of course Susan likes to see her family enjoy the proceeds of her baking talents but she gets TWISTED out of her f*cking skull when they eat everything up in one day. Susan has no patience for folks who can't control themselves and this goes double for the husband and kids.

Anyway, she shared her thoughts on portion control in her b*tchy mommy voice then removed the cookies from her family. She hid them and then was forced to change the hiding spot everyday because the kids have plenty of time to look for cookies after school and the husband can reach all the high spots. Unfortunately hiding spots are in short supply so Susan found herself stuffing the cookies into drawers where extra towels are stored.

Susan baked some chocolate biscotti tonight. As she put the ingredients together she included two teaspoons of cayenne pepper. Susan likes her chocolate spicy while her family does not.


Twice this week Susan has had a kind of flashback to fourth grade, she's only approximating that it was fourth grade, it could could have been fifth grade. Or third.
She thinks it was initially triggered by the fluorescent lights at work combined with the rain and maybe a teeny bit of deep internal anxiety. Anyway, her flashback came on and ended within a few seconds and took the form of a feeling combined with a memory, like she slipped back into herself as a kid.
The memory was of a trip her class had taken. Nothing really happened; everybody got on a bus, went someplace, sat around & went home. And they all got airline pilot wings in a little manila envelope.
Susan found herself experiencing a long ago insecurity, different from the way any current insecurity feels, and a little sadness. This was accompanied by a blurry mental photograph.

The second flashback was triggered by a lunchroom smell. It came and went so fast Susan couldn't identify it but she was catapulted back to the East Lake Avenue Elementary school. She let her mind wander to the classmate who ate egg salad every day for years, the ammonia that the lunch ladies used to wipe down the tables, her brownie troop meetings, the Mary Hopkins record she liked.

Susan was raised in a fend for yourself climate, things weren't all warm & cuddly like today. Teachers didn't fall over themselves to make sure kids were happy, Susan was scolded once for wearing a store bought Halloween costume to school instead of a home made one.

She remembers going to the beach with someone's mother and coming home fried to a crisp. How do you let a long white stringbean of a kid with orange hair get redder and redder without grabbing her to sit in the shade or slop on suntan lotion? There was plenty of suntan lotion in 1969 because Susan's mother used to bathe her in it. Well, Susan doesn't want to turn this into a grade school bitch fest although she's got more than enough material.

Susan had a previous flashback experience while she was sitting in the car listening to the radio. A song came on that reminded her in a very vivid way of the double married boyfriend period in her life. The feeling disappeared almost as soon as it came but Susan tried to hold on to it. She hoped to use the song to channel herself during that time and figure out why she found such an insane lifestyle attractive. She still doesn't know.


Susan worked up a total sweat trying to figure out how to add the little Bossy's (No) Book Tour square. She's draped across a chair fanning herself right now.

Susan is displaying an unusual amount of faith by thinking that she can even get out of the house to go socializing with a bunch of bloggers. And, it's quite possible that she'll have nothing clever to say when she gets there. Sure, her BLAHg's filled with plenty of nonsense if you like reading about meatball hysteria and mangled grammar and bags of Craisins. Susan hopes that you're thinking; but Susan, you're so fabulous and funny! While that's true, she'd like to hip you to her secret weapon; editing. Susan edits the living crap out of everything she writes because she's not this entertaining right out of the gate. Really.

What happens if she's in a bad mood on blogger night? Susan's got some effective tricks for bad moods, but bad moods are still organic & take on a life of their own. She never knows what she's up against until she's up against it.

Neither does Susan know anything technical about blogging. It's tough enough to weave her magic using words, she doesn't have the mental capacity to include pictures. Oy, pictures bring a whole other level of involvement that Susan doesn't have time for.

What if the other bloggers want to talk politics? Susan truly isn't interested in hearing anyone's political opinion, plus she gets Libya and Iran confused all the time although she knows where Yemen is thanks to a map from Doctors Without Borders.
Susan's tuckered out from all her negative projection.


The husband makes a pot of meatballs & sauce every other week. While they're still hot he runs half over to the neighbor's and comes back home to feed the other half to a table full of people. Leftovers are turned into lasagne.

The husband made Susan fall in love with his meatballs years ago. She and the meatballs were very happy until the husband had a little fling with a few of Carmine's meatballs and everything fell apart. Susan didn't understand the fuss, Carmine's meatballs were no big deal but the husband disagreed and set on a path to replicate them.
Susan was mad!
She yelled any time he made a stupid pot of sub-par meatballs. She refused to eat them.
She made mean comments about them.
She argued with everyone who said they liked them.
This went on for months until the husband finally said alright already! and agreed to make them only every third pot and to let Susan know well in advance.
Susan found this arrangement agreeable.

Now things are back to normal, the husband has given up his quest to make ordinary meatballs, Susan has simmered down and everything's good in the kitchen again.


Susan has been having trouble with her words lately.
Like, for the last thirteen and 11/12ths years.
She remembers the day she couldn't summon ceiling fan and found herself pointing upward demanding that someone turn on that thing that twirls around!

Sometimes she comes up with words which are similar in definition and other times it's words that sound similar. Sometimes all they share is the same first letter.
Susan finds it easier to start from scratch and describe the thing she is trying to remember rather than search her brain for the word. This doesn't happen just every once in a while, it happens every day. Every day a few words temporarily evaporate and leave Susan with an empty space where they used to be.

She's good with extrapolate and pontificate and obfuscate. She can play Bananagrams standing on her head.
She can read until the cows come home but she can't think of the word tomato.


For the better part of the last decade Susan and her little sister, their cousins and aunt have maintained a Superbowl ritual; they ignore it completely and go shopping at Macy's in Herald Square.
Macy*s is amazingly gigantic, totally immense.
Susan and her aunt used to work for unrelated agencies in the same building located down the block and became very well acquainted with which floor held what and where the sale racks were. That was a magical time for Susan who was fond of running over to pick up a pound of dark chocolate almond bark whenever she felt like it.
Whenever she felt like it!
Anyway. Last year Susan had to beg off because she was unemployed and didn't have the necessary money for train fare. That was sad because Susan didn't even have to shop to enjoy herself, she just looked forward to spending the day with her cousins. This year will be just as sad,
but it's not the lack of cash that's ruining her plans.
Her son's fourteenth birthday falls on that Sunday and there's no way she can use her hatred of all things football to get out of the house.
Susan hates the Super Boring Bowl like crazy. Last year she tried to read the newspapers through it but still managed to catch her family laughing like a bunch of a**holes at the grotesquely un-funny commercials.
For a few minutes she thought that the entire country had conspired to mess around with her because how could anybody think this sh*t is funny?
However, there was a little bright spot during halftime when she saw Bruce Springsteen teabag a cameraman.


For a half hour Susan was in a room with a television that was tuned to American Idol. This isn't something that's ever on in her house. Ever. She's familiar with the judging panel through cultural osmosis but she's never seen them in action. She will admit that she liked the juxtaposition of a cockney accent against the android perfection of Victoria Beckham. Or V.
Susan was struck by the the lack of depth in their commentary and their solicitous and superficial manner. The girls sort of nod their head to indicate that they're grooving along with the music.
And, where'd Ryan Seacrest come from anyway? It's as if he was left on our doorstep ten years ago and then mutated into the form we see today.
Alright, that's enough. Susan's done thinking about them.


Susan got the opportunity to see a Broadway play over the weekend, it was very bright and musical and Susan was all set to take a nap but the seats were too small.

Halfway through the first act a new character took the stage, he was very average in every way except for
his package which was unrestrained beneath woolen leggings. Susan's eyes did that cartoon thing where they pop out of their sockets and get really big like balloons then get sucked back in.

For the rest of the time the actor was onstage, which was most of the play, Susan could see nothing else but the dangly thang. The jiggly wiggly.

A chain reaction of thoughts started knocking each other over in Susan's head like; Was this on purpose? How could it not be? Did Gilbert & Sullivan endorse this unexpected twist? And, why wasn't anybody in charge of monitoring underpants?


The TWISTED Susan Family Annual Update

OMG, it felt like last year went by so fast when in reality it took an entire year to drag its sorry ass across the finish line.
Things started out with lots of excitement;

Susan was unemployed, her car got repossessed and the family lost their medical benefits. Wow!
But, laughter is the best medicine and, boy did they laugh. LOL!
Did they let any of this stop them from going on vacation? No they didn't. Twelve hours in the car got them a long weekend in North Carolina visiting the husband's daughters.
Susan knows that she's kind of making fun by insinuating that this may have been a less than glamorous trip.

She wants to say it loud & proud that she had a terrific time and hopes to be invited back again, although it would be nice to fly there.
Like all proud homeowners behind on their mortgage payments there were home improvement projects during the year. The husband hung some shelves and Susan bought new towels. They're looking forward to Phase II when they repaint a room.
Let's not forget about the kids, they had their own busy schedules of going to school followed by a summer of putting pizza rolls in the microwave and watching TV.
Susan served as juror number 6 during the home invasion trial of a drug dealer. She loved jury duty because it was like criminal justice theatre. Plus, she had nothing else to do and they paid her $40 a day.
There were blessings for the family too, and everyone knows just how much Susan adores the word blessings. She can't hear it enough.

In an economically desolate environment Susan got herself a new job. And eventually a new car payment. And payroll deducted medical benefits. And contributions to a 401(k). Then the IRS played a little trick on them, but it was all in good fun and everyone had a big laugh. LOL again!
There was a visit from Wild Bill which is always fun and frustrating and maybe a little chaotic. This trip he delivered his daughter safely back to her New York family.

To stay, hooray!
The year ended with a coupla things and blah, blah, blah.
The end.
Fish sticks and spaghetti was Susan's most hated childhood dinner. She still doesn't eat spaghetti.
Because of her mother!

Susan's curious about your most hated childhood meal, won't you tell her all about it?
She even changed the settings on her comment moderation so now everybody can comment without having to jump through hoops.

Comment away, darlings.


Susan's mother did not like what Susan wrote in her previous post and pointed out a pair of inaccuracies. Susan told her mother I took it easy on you knowing that there was so much more she could share about the meals of her childhood but will have to wait until her parents are dead.
Inaccuracy #1: Susan's mother never used a crockpot, it was a pressure cooker.
Inaccuracy #2: Cream of Mushroom soup was only used in the Tuna Casserole which Susan was able to keep from spitting out but her little sister was not.
Some nights they have entire conversations in the hot tub just about Tuna Casserole.
Susan is sorry that her mother was unhappy and hopes that this has helped a little bit.
What does Susan have against her crock pot?
(Thanks for asking, beechie).
To provide the answer Susan has to travel way back to the '70s and describe the sort of food her mother made her eat. Stew-like things with soft carrots, soft potatoes and stringy meat all held together by cream of mushroom soup. Susan used to excuse herself from the kitchen table to go spit her dinner into the toilet. There were plenty of corn, peas and diced vegetables slopped out of cans, the peas even smelled like pee. Every dinner was followed up by a dessert of fruit cocktail and three kids fighting over the lone cherry in each can.

Susan's pal Cyndi (yes, she really spells her name that way) always had her crockpot humming on the kitchen counter. Susan liked the idea of being removed from dinner preparation but couldn't stomach the idea of soft meat. And, she certainly couldn't have her children complaining about their dinners forty years later.

This notwithstanding, Susan bought a crockpot in a fit of doomed enthusiasm and immediately started looking for recipes that didn't involve red meat. Chicken thighs were promoted as being more flavorful, so she used them and learned that she doesn't like her chicken squishy and fatty. Cousin Lisa provided a recipe for pork chops crockpotted in V8 with onions and potatoes. That was nice of her is Susan's only comment. Chicken crockpotted in salsa and peanut butter ended up in the garbage, bypassing the table completely.
Susan might consider crockpotting some rice pudding.
Dare she?


This new year Susan resolves to;
Care more about world events
Find her silver hoop earring
Make some CDs for the car
Find her black and tan gloves
Try tomato juice again
Be a better person
Watch that Netflix movie she got in November
Think about using the treadmill
Serve antipasto more often
Use her creative abilities to make money
Give the crockpot away
Show her children as much love as she shows the dog.


Susan had no expectations that the new year would be any different than the old year. She understands that this is a very pessimistic attitude but she's been riding a bad mood for months and is not going to change just because it's a new f*cking decade.

All she wanted to do on the eve of the new year was sit in her sister's hot tub and b*tch about her life for a while then go watch all the Thin Man movies on TCM.
Instead she ended up as the guest of a family who liked to cook, eat, drink home made wine, dance and listen to their Portuguese music turned up to 11. Even the family dogs were pressed in to service as dance partners.

Susan eventually exiled herself to the darkened living room where she found the TV clicker under a pile of coats and watched William Powell and Myrna Loy drink their way through the 1930s. Susan was only able to watch because the music was so loud she couldn't hear the television. Before long Susan's brother-in-law joined her and was making up names, dialogue and a story for the movie which put Susan into fits because her brother-in-law is crazy funny.

Midnight came and went so Susan's family slid home,
crawled into bed and woke up to a new year's miracle. She's typing on the drunken laptop!