Susan and her family went to the Brooklyn Museum to observe the daughter's 16th birthday. Originally the kid didn't want to do anything but she changed her mind because she's been there before and "they have a good gift shop".

They had some pretty neat stuff in there, like Kara Walker's silhouettes:
Susan was delighted to find some paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe:
Both she and her kids liked this installation by Swoon:

How about this cheeky painting of The Sculptor :
And his neighbor, this lady:
And this fella:
And then she liked all this stuff too:


And lastly, this thing which was made entirely from corn kernels and corn byproducts:


Susan and her daughter were five minutes into a seventy five minute drive when the daughter said she was thirsty.

What's the matter with you we just left the house if you were thirsty why didn't you bring something to drink I'm not stopping to spend money because you're not smart enough to know that you'll want something to drink on the ride didn't I just ask you to count all the singles in my purse and saw that I only had twenty two dollars you do this all the time I'm really frustrated with you!

After Susan's little tirade she saw that they were directly opposite a ubiquitous convenience store. She considered the heat of the day and how she wanted her daughter to love her and asked You want a Slurpee? The Slurpee idea changed everything for Susan from anger to chilled happiness. They went inside to get their Slurpees when the daughter asked if she could get a sandwich.

OMG we're not even out of the house five minutes you know it's a long drive why didn't you eat before we left I can't spend money on food because you have no imagination to open up the refrigerator and find something to eat this is the last time I am buying you something to eat immediately after we've left the house so I hope you enjoy it I'm not kidding this is the LAST TIME get your sandwich and go up to the register!

Susan was aware that she sounded like a pathetic wretch to everyone within earshot but didn't care, she kept the volume of her voice to a minimum but not her exasperated tone. The total expenditure, although small, was one third of the cash in her wallet, a point she made to the daughter once they were outside. Not wanting to alienate the kid any further Susan engaged her in a normal conversational tone and worked out a Plan of Correction to effectively prepare for a car ride so that her mother would never have to pull out money again.


Susan has been cycling through her own personal stages of unemployment.
First was (1) Overwhelming Relief followed immediately by
(2) Medical Appointment Scheduling
(3) Work Friend Isolation Syndrome (ongoing)
(4) Big Decision Reconsideration
(5) Pantry Reorganization
and now she is up to (6) Lists.

Susan makes lists whenever she has a need to stabilize herself or has a bunch of stuff to do in a short amount of time. First on Susan's list was her diet.

She's been feeling lethargic lately which is a dangerous condition for someone who is already a low-energy personality so she put together a list of healthier things to eat for breakfast. Susan won't bore you with what they were (shout out to Cousin Lisa) but they're all better options than mixing chocolate chips directly into a jar of peanut butter.

After her breakfast list Susan made a very nice bundt cake with all the blueberries attracting fruit files in her kitchen.

Susan dug out an unused notebook into which she transferred her breakfast list. Then she added her free things to do this summer list which was established well before there was a hint of unemployment in her life. It's a good list because there's always free things for Susan to do involving music or outdoor movies as long as she doesn't mind figuring out where she's going to park.

The next list she's going to tackle is her daily schedule because right now she has none.


Susan's beloved Cousin Lisa was not a fan of Susan's previous post, she advised Susan via text that reading about her pantry was boring and suggested a more weighty topic, to share the conversations Susan is having with her son as he gets ready to leave for sleep away college.

Susan would characterize her son as being under communicative. From at least age twelve he has maintained a steadfast creedo of non disclosure, routinely employing the effective 'I don't know' blow-off when asked about anything. He provides one word answers and admonishes her with 'I told you already' if she asks the same thing twice which she often does because her memory is afflicted with advancing decrepitude. Since that time, if she wanted to squeeze from him the teeniest little drop of personal information Susan would have to begin plotting weeks in advance. She was most successful when he was tired, but even then she would have to be very stealth lest he figure out that they were talking.

Unemployment has opened up Susan's availability around the house and a happy side benefit has been the increased number of conversations with both her children on a variety of topics.

The other evening Susan's son described for her, in punishing detail, the plot line of the new Planet of the Apes movie, even though she gave every indication that she was disinterested. Of late he's been more forthcoming with information about social events he's attended, including but not limited to; who was there, what they were doing and if they were drinking. When asked, he'll oblige her with a brief synopsis of that day's goings on at his part time camp counseling gig. 

Susan has also been riding shot gun while he practices his driving giving her the opportunity to sneak in more conversation. They've discussed music, which of his friends' parents he connects with, the differences in each of his gym workouts, how he plans to use his summer earnings, what he thinks of his sister and father and his standard inquiry about what Susan is preparing for dinner.

Susan doesn't chat like best friends with either of her children because they do not allow her to do so. What she offers them, and what she believes they value, is her interest in their lives and her largely undivided attention.

Butt, who nose.


Sometimes Susan's mental resolve weakens & she finds herself thinking OMG, I'm unemployed! 
Susan would like to establish that overall, she prefers to be employed. However, during this specific period of her life she is going to enjoy a bit of unemployment and get her balance back.

Susan finds it soothing to organize things. The fact that nothing stays that way has no bearing on the process. Actually, it's not accurate to say that things don't stay organized, because many things in her house do. The bedroom closet and kitchen cabinets are always in exemplary shape, the pantry is another scene entirely. It's an orgy of unrelated items piled on top of each other, co-mingling without any regard for decency.

The pantry is located behind bi-fold doors in her dining room. Her kitchen and dining room are technically rooms, but more closely resemble spaces one must pass through on the way out the back door. Susan's pantry also houses the washer & dryer and must hold laundry supplies as well as all manner of food, lesser used kitchen appliances such as the rice cooker and juicer as well as cook books, light bulbs, batteries, recycled newspapers and dog food. Bulky items such as extra paper goods are stored in the basement, but sometimes Susan forgets what she has down there and frivolously buys more.

Ever since her first day home from Acme Sweatshop she'd been eyeballing the pantry. Last week it became too much for her to ignore so she tore it apart.

It took the entire day, and then some, but at the end her unemployed brain was soothed and she had a place to keep her mostaccioli separated from her mayo.

Up next; Susan cleans her refrigerator!


The day after Susan's little backyard party for her son found her wandering the landscape of her yard like a zombied hostess collecting all the borrowed tables, chairs & coolers for return to their owners. There was very little trash because the party guests, including the teenagers, cleaned up after themselves, which is what civilized people do.

There was nothing fancy about the party, Susan made most of the food herself and even forgot a central component of the dessert, shortcake for the strawberries, but no one noticed because they were topped with cream whipped five minutes prior to serving. There were a few other failures, such as her panforte and inability to keep the food hot, but this did not deter her guests from eating everything except some grilled pineapple slices. 

Susan maintained a relaxed posture with her guests all afternoon which was directly proportionate to the amount of yelling at her family she had done that morning.

Special thanks go out to Susan's next door neighbor KB, who made a wonderful spinach & strawberry salad including a dressing which had to be prepared twenty four hours in advance. 

And to Cousin Greg for crawling underneath Susan's kitchen sink to tighten her faucet after asking 'What's with this faucet?'. He also bestowed an awesome gift of tequila in a bottle so large it could not fit in Susan's bar.

Teenage guest, Mike showed up after dark with a box of Entenmann's chocolate donuts resulting in eight grown-ups licking chocolate from their fingers in record time.

           *               *               *               *

Susan spent her Party Recovery Sunday moving very slowly, doing very little, staying within collapsing distance of the couch.


Susan opened a kitchen cabinet and five glass bowls stacked in descending size flung themselves downward ("Hey!") exploding on her fancy granite counter top.

This was no safety glass. Shanks and shards flew from the kitchen to the dining room.

Mercifully, Susan got only one small cut but the cleanup involved a three step process;
a straight edge was employed to sweep the debris directly into a big black contractor's garbage bag,
then the cumbersome wet-dry vac,
lastly, a series of wet paper towels to wipe up the sparkly glass dust.

There were no casualties beyond the glass bowls. Spared was the the brand new candy thermometer used for the panforte Susan made last night and the French press filled with hot coffee, a mug for which Susan originally opened the cabinet.

Does the last part of that sentence sound right? Susan opened the cabinet to get a mug and the sh*t fell on top of her.

The husband claimed responsibility for improperly stacking the glass bowls, Susan forgave him and they had coffee.


Susan is hosting a backyard graduation party for her son next weekend.
Her entertaining skills have improved over the years, but she still sought advice from veteran hostesses such as her little sister and friend, Sharon. Susan has also consulted the world wide web for inspiration but sadly encountered a preponderance of things like this:
There's no way this sort of OCD barbecue sh*t is happening in Susan's backyard.

She will cut the grass, borrow chairs, throw checkered bed sheets over the buffet tables, make delicious sangria & pulled pork, ensure she has enough disposable utensils, fill up the tikki torches and tart up her basement in case it rains and she has to throw half of her party guests down there.


Susan has not yet established a schedule for her summer of unemployment beyond taking the extra time to French press her coffee and sitting outside in the cool morning shade to drink it while a wasp of decent size buzzes by several times an hour to search for his murdered family.

Susan is still happily content to do nothing for the time being, although when the husband asked what are you doing today? she experienced the teeniest little flutter of guilt.

Susan is not one for guilt. She often admonishes her amigas for needlessly tormenting themselves over nonsense.
Sisters, you feel guilty because you left the baby with your mother in law and enjoyed time alone?
You feel guilty because you ate something sugary and delicious?
You feel guilty because you worked hard for something and can afford it?
Knock it off girls.

Anyway, Susan is rejecting guilt and going to make fig jam instead.


Susan is aware that she has traded the quality of her BLAHg posts for quantity and thanks everyone for pretending like they didn't notice. She hopes you find the minutiae of her quiet life charming, and are prepared to endure it for an unspecified period of time longer.

Today as she sat outside in the breezy quiet of the morning, listening to the birds, enjoying her coffee, appreciating the serenity of doing nothing, she noticed a wasp buzzing above her head. 

Susan was situated beneath a set of bamboo wind chimes hanging from the patio umbrella. They aren't so much chimes as they are a set of hollow pipes which knock into each other in the breeze and make a gentle, natural sound. The wasp had a long piece of dried grass and disappeared up one of the bamboo pipes.
Uh oh.
When a second wasp came buzzing around Susan jumped up in a panic, doused the wasps with bug spray and threw the chimes into the pool. Six or seven little wasp babies floated out of their former crib along with a parent. Susan fished them out of the pool and stomped them to death. After her righteous killing spree ended she set her attention to blasting the wasp nest out of her gentle wind chimes with the garden hose. Out shot a bunch of dead little bright green crickets.

Susan temporarily hung a set of bell chimes where the bamboo had been and for the rest of the day watched wasps buzzing around looking for their former domicile before flying off.