With this quote from Emily Dickinson;
'One need not be a chamber to be haunted, One need not be a house. The brain has corridors surpassing material place.' Mama Kat prompted Susan to write about her claustrophobia.

Susan discovered she was thusly afflicted the day her old man requested her assistance holding up a muffler pipe. He put her on the creeper, slid her underneath the car and she crossed a threshold from which she has been unable to return.

Susan can remember every elevator that's pushed her to the brink of hysteria; in a Seattle parking garage, in Macy's, Herald Square and in any office building she's ever worked. She can get on an elevator when there's no other option. But when there is, she's taking the stairs.

Back in her twenties she was still able to maintain her composure as she climbed the narrow staircase of a local lighthouse, but it took tremendous focus. Now, she wouldn't dare try.

The results of each brush with claustrophobia are bad dreams and heightened anxiety. Susan has learned to manage these side effects relatively well because she's had alot of practice.

During a block party a few years back Susan followed her little sister into one of those inflatable jumpy things and was seized with fear when she stuck her face into the little opening.
Small passageways are off limits to Susan now.

That great scene where Uma Thurman busts her way out of the grave in Kill Bill Vol.2...forget it! Susan risks insanity if she watches it again.

She was sedated to get through this situation, had to stop reading halfway through this article and sometimes she gets claustrophobic if she stares at the bottom of the glass while she's drinking.

Crazy, she knows.


The old folks have gone home, but here's a picture to remember them by. Wild Bill was unavailable due to the fact that he's laying low.


Susan's family was in need of summer staples including sneakers and underwear so they went to the outlets on Saturday. Is there anything more suburban than the outlets?
Maybe the food court.

The food court at the outlets offered Susan a limited amount of unappealing choices for her lunch. She rejected flaccid pizza, slimy Chinese and $7 egg salad sandwiches. The husband sensing danger investigated why Susan didn't have a try of food in front of her.

'There is nothing I could possibly eat in this place, one thing is greasier than the next.'

Just then, an overweight woman at the next table, picked up her giant soda and plate of disgusting food and moved from within earshot of Susan.

In the meantime, the husband knew exactly what Susan needed and got her a chili cheese dog from Nathan's. It was fabulous!


Susan is putting all the members of her house on notice;
Any more wet towels and everybody's getting f*cked up.
She's not stopping to find out who was responsible.
They're all going down.

She'll exclude the old folks for now.


Over the weekend Susan spent an entire afternoon in a bridal shop. Oy.

That has got to be the worst job in the world. Susan can't imagine having to spend eight hours in the company of sweet young brides and their entourage every damned day.

As far as Susan is aware there is nothing that an impending bride can say that she wants to hear.
What, how shiny and beautiful the world is? No!
About the tropical honeymoon?
Again, no!

And, how about all those monotonous white dresses? Susan wouldn't be able to fake her way through a single You look beautiful, darling!
Ugh, she couldn't.


The old folks are in town to sleep in Susan's basement for ten days. The husband volunteered to retrieve them in the middle of a foggy night then managed to slam three of her father's fingers in the trunk before they left the airport.

The next day Susan's mother accompanied her as she ran errands including one she hasn't done in thirty years; to open a savings account.

Susan hates banks.
She hates how they're not on her side but pretend they are.
She hates how they tell her NO instead of yes.
She hates their condescending manner as they steal her money one fee at a time.

In the past Susan has walked out of banks while waiting for someone to assist her, like here.

This time Susan took her profoundly jaded and unenthusiastic self to a credit union and allowed William to open an account for her. He got down to business without any fake chit chat. William provided Susan with all the information about her new account and none of it bugged her. During the transaction Susan noticed a change sorting machine, William told her that it was free for members.

When Susan was done she thanked William and left feeling very even tempered, not at all like someone who was just pawed in the back of a car, had her pockets picked & then got dropped off in the middle of nowhere.

Susan will be curious to see if this relationship lasts.


Susan accomplished the impossible and left work early one day last week.

She drove to the greatest city in the world with her little sister and youngest niece to admire the artistic thesis of her art school niece.

The niece calls it You're Making Me Nervous which undoubtedly refers to the likelihood of making a living after graduation.


Susan turned on the TV at the exact moment the Barefoot Contessa whipped out a puff pastry.
Oh, yes!

Pesto and goat cheese and sundried tomatoes and toasted pignolli.
It just got better and better!

Susan finds the Barefoot Contessa's conversational style to be very soothing. If only Susan could vault the ten foot hedge out in East Hampton and be Ina's friend. She might even help Susan meet Alec Baldwin.

Susan never revealed that she went to high school with Alec Baldwin, did she? He was two years ahead of her so the closest she ever got was to pass by him in the hallway. She can't explain why she was aware of him at all because she didn't associate outside of her grade. She wasn't involved in sports or the drama club or anything extra curricular. She didn't have a boyfriend or friends with boyfriends. Who knows.

It will have to remain a high school mystery. But there's no mystery to her obsession with puff pastry.
That is a love of pure, flaky butter.


The first year of Susan's marriage she accompanied her husband to what turned out to be a fancy party.
She questioned him about the dress code and he said People are coming from work meaning just wear your work outfit.

So she did.

Susan remembers exactly what she wore sixteen years ago, may she bore you with the description?

She chose a high waisted, khaki green pencil skirt into which she tucked a soft cream colored blouse with a floral pattern woven into the fabric. She doesn't recall the footwear but she looked very nice for work.

Her first inkling that something was wrong came as she & the husband arrived at the party and observed bejeweled women in furs getting out of limousines.

She has never trusted the husband's opinion on such an important social matter since.

Friday night Susan accompanied the husband to a party celebrating the significant birthday of a longtime pal. In the morning Susan dressed for work with the party in mind. She chose something dark and slimming with a dark sweater that cinched at the waist in case she got chilly.

Her first inkling that something was wrong came as she & the husband approached the house, which was on the water and windy as a sonofab*tch, and saw a big tent in the yard.

The party is outside? Susan glared at the husband who was wearing his heavy jacket.

Yes sez he.

It was cold! Everyone was dressed in their arctic gear. Susan was in heels with painted toenails.

Susan analyzed, adapted and overcame.

She positioned herself at the blazing firepit and had a great time. She chatted with old friends, drank red wine, ate and then went home smelling like a campfire.


Susan stole this from the awesome Nick Holmes.


Susan went to the beach this weekend.

Brrr. It was COLD.