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.


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.


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.


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.


Susan had a long Monday that started when she woke up & went to work leaving her weekend company to fend for herself with the two dogs, one of which is a killer of small furry things. Susan is happy to report that GP and Big Steve departed without incident and are free to return for another visit.

Susan did a bunch of things on Monday which put her in other people's homes and required a lot of driving. When she finally got back to her own home she just crashed on the couch & was too pooped to BLAHg. She'll hip you tomorrow when she has more brain power to make everything sound interesting, but here's a preview: Susan saw her daughter!

Oh, and Susan had a cut on her finger and it hurt all day. 


Susan's Sunday began with a late wakeup & more grilled pumpkin bread for breakfast before driving an hour to an estate sale where GP negotiated a 33% discount on a very nice four panel Oriental screen. Since GP is not one for heavy lifting her partner Susan folded the thing up and started moving it with some difficulty through the living room. This attracted the attention of a kind stranger who assisted Susan with its removal. Then, with the help of a second volunteer, they stuffed it into Susan's car with only a modest amount of maneuvering.

Susan and GP took the scenic route toward home stopping to have crepes for lunch. Crepes, ooh la la! Post lunch they continued along the scenic route for quite a distance in order to pick up a fresh farm stand pie to bring for dinner at Susan's little sister's house. 

The estate sale, lunch and pie took all day.

Susan's little sister's house is a noisy place filled with people and animals, and there's always room for more. Big Steve got an opportunity to run around with his kind, sniff asses & lick turkey fat from greasy fingers. He may even have pooped on the floor.
Once back at Susan's the girls changed into their nighttime loungewear for an evening of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and Big Steve went to bed but not before peeing near the couch & pooping on the floor twice.

Day three, everyone made it through the weekend alive. 


Susan's weekend guests had a good Saturday. 

Susan baked pumpkin banana bread which was nice in theory only. Susan always forgets that she never likes anything she bakes using pumpkin. She loves adding pumpkin to things like chili and brownies, but pumpkin baked goods are always a disappointment. That said, it didn't stop her from grilling a piece on the stove top & eating it.

GP wanted to get Big Steve's nails clipped in the morning, so everyone put on their cold weather gear and went to the groomer in between the bagel place & the hairdresser. Big Steve revealed that he really didn't want his nails clipped by trying in earnest to bite everyone & peeing everywhere. 

Noteworthy was Susan being referred to as GP's partner by the owner.

The trio stopped at the vet to pick up Lucy's prescription then they went to an estate sale in a tight little house with lots of small rooms, the sort of house that was not altered by anything other than new shelf paper. Susan purchased a framed print of Notre Dame sitting patiently just waiting for her to find it.

Related: remind Susan to tell you how she went to Paris in September.

After the estate sale they went to a little local cemetery to say hello to someone Susan used to know, then they went to eat but it took a long time because the waitress gave their food to another table, then they walked around town ending up in a small used book store where everybody bought books.

Related: The last time Susan was in that book store Wild Bill bought forty pounds of WW2 books.

By now it was time to head home, en route Susan stopped by the Jewelry Hospital to drop off a favorite earring which broke when when it fell into the bathroom sink, then the local chain pet store where she picked up a 2 lamb shanks and an an impulse purchase of a new ID tag which she fed into a machine and watched being engraved, before ending up in 7-11 for half & half and the marvellously entertaining New York Post.

Once home everyone changed into their loungewear, Susan threw a fake log into the fireplace, and the dogs who seemed only marginally interested in each other were kept on their leashes and out of striking distance, Susan was not going to be fooled. 

Day two, no casualties.


Susan's weekend guests have arrived and even though she kept them waiting in her driveway on a very cold Friday afternoon they were still nice to her.

As previously documented, Lucy cannot be trusted around small furry things, or even small seemingly hairless bug-eyed things with a rat tail, but Susan isn't familiar with a beast fitting that description, certainly not Big Steve the chihuahua.

Susan let Lucy out the back door as GP and Big Steve came in the front door. He strolled around the house sniffing everything before establishing his temporary homestead in the orange guest room.

Eventually both dogs had to be introduced to one another, a moment Susan was dreading all week. She imagined Lucy busting through walls to devour all ten pounds of Big Steve in one bite. Instead both dogs were able to be restrained by a tight hold on their leash and eventually spent the night in each other's company, Lucy & Susan on one couch sitting opposite Big Steve and GP on the other. Susan rubbed Lucy's ears and kept the leash wrapped around her hand leaving only five inches to spare.

Night one, no casualties.


Swim with the current
Be a good navigator
Stay calm under pressure
Be well traveled
Think long term
Age gracefully 
Spend time at the beach

Susan loves this card her Aunt Eileen sent after they bunked together during a trip to Florida. For five decades Aunt Eileen and Susan have shared ideas & had wonderful meaningful talks, there's always something new to learn.

Aunt Eileen snores.


Susan is 57 but could easily pass for 56.

Today at work Susan was speaking to a 35 year old female seeking a job. During the conversation Miss Thirty Five wanted to write down the date she was scheduled to return. Instead of typing the information into the calendar on her phone, as most people would do, she pulled out an old school planner and explained 'I'm like an old lady...
Then she looked directly at Susan adding 'No offense' and continued talking.

For the rest of the day Susan's nickname was Grandma.


Susan is trying not to eat any additional sugar. This enlightened decision was brought on by the frightening volume of leftover Halloween candy she has been consuming at Acme Heaven Sent. Susan was already starting not to fit in to some of her pants which is a feeling she does not enjoy AT ALL and bite size nuggets of every imaginable chocolate candy just made her feel like Eric Clapton each time she stuffed them into her mouth. 

Sidebar: Eric Clapton was a former world class heroin addict who started with sugar 

Susan also read THIS ARTICLE about going a month without sugar, which made it seem pretty easy to accomplish. Susan liked the idea of resetting her taste buds, learning which packaged foods hide sugar and making some changesThe article suggested that she read the ingredient list looking for things that end in '-ose'. Susan reads most labels anyway and could certainly do that much, right? The article included a simple interactive game where she clicked on pictures of packaged foods and the amount of sugar was tallied up letting her know how good or bad her choices were. Not exactly Cards Against Humanity, but she found it illuminating.

Anyway, that's Day 7. Read the article, it'll take 2 minutes. The End.


Susan was drinking a smoothie in lieu of eating a proper dinner and texting her daughter and researching how much it is to order her dog's medicine online and putting away her groceries and listening to David Bouchier and writing a check and going through her garbage looking for a receipt and looking at cake decorating videos on Instagram and reading and yawning instead of BLAHg-ing.


Susan stayed home all day in her PJs. She didn't do anything constructive beyond brushing her teeth, moving her clocks ahead one hour, and repotting her little rosemary plant

She had a nice chat over the phone with her dad about combating anxiety which is an important (and recurring) topic. She had an equally nice chat with her pal, GP about what they would do during her upcoming visit and how they would keep her chihuahua, Big Steve out of Lucy's grasp.
I watched her kill a squirrel like three weeks ago Susan offered, as if GP needed any reminder of Lucy's ferocity around small furry things. Click HERE to read about Lucy's run-in with GP's dog, Sadie.

Susan's gonna require Big Steve's paw print on a waiver.


Susan had a Guinness for breakfast with her friend Cindy

After that she went to the thrift store and bought a green sweater, the cashier told Susan she had nice eyes

After that she went to the post office

After that she went to a local department store to stand on line & return some stuff

After that she picked up something she had framed & dropped off something to be framed

After that she went to the drive thru pharmacy

After that she went to the health food store and had a nice chat with the lady who works there. Susan spent almost fifty dollars which is a lot of money for the health food store, but two of the items ate up thirty four dollars because they were special

After that she went home to see her dog and listen to music and wash her sweater and text her son and talk on the phone with her pal Christine who described a disappointing visit with their mutual friend, and change her clothes before she walked back out the door

After that she went to dinner with her sister & brother in law who made her laugh and laugh and laugh

After that they went to Home Depot where all the Halloween stuff was 75% so they walked around wearing gorilla and werewolf masks looking for white flower pots but there weren't any so they left but not before Susan purchased both masks then they all did silly walks out the front door but Susan farted and everybody ran away from her 


Susan bit her tongue at lunch. 
She was really chomping away at her Sexy Greek Salad when she bit a hole into the middle of her tongue. She's not even sure how that part of her tongue met up with her teeth, but it did.
She announced very calmly to her lunch mate Book Smart, I bit my tongue.
Then it started to hurt. It hurts she said. She may have repeated that piece of information a few times. Book Smart immediately told Susan to soothe her tongue against the roof of her mouth, but Susan had to finish chewing her salad first. 

Sidebar: Book Smart is very composed during emergencies evidenced when Susan overheard a matter-of-fact phone conversation with the husband about one of their kids:
What happened?
How much blood?
Remain calm. I'll meet you at the hospital.

Susan took two Advil and looked at her tongue in the mirror. There was a black spot and a nice 3/4" gash, like her tongue got knifed and was now dying. Susan spent the rest of the afternoon playing with the wiggly bitten piece.

Even with the tongue trauma Susan was able to eat sharp & salty pita chips when she got home. 


Susan left work early so she could run home and get rescheduled by her tree removal guys. The trees in her yard are all thirty feet tall (conservatively) and some have developed a habit of keeling over but not hitting the ground. In March the first tree hit her neighbor's house, the current tree is being held up only by the branches of the tree next to it. 
A wee bit precarious, yes?

Earlier this year the tree gave up any impression of being alive and each time Susan looked at it she thought that's dead
She also thought that's going to be the next person's expense.


Susan promised to write a BLAHg post a day for the month of November, here's day one:

Susan took a little spin around FB and saw the excess of bullsh*t some folks were shoveling. Susan knows the real story because she has observed those same folks conducting themselves in a manner opposite from what they've promoted on FB. 

Consistently opposite.
Susan invites anyone in her life to call her out on her own bullsh*t. She would appreciate that information.


As you may recall, Susan is getting ready to leave everyone and everything she loves and relaunch herself in North Carolina. She approximates that 75% of her current possessions will not be invited to come along and has been casually shedding what she owns. There is always an open box into which she may deposit a rice cooker or her entire collection of dinner plates, minus two. If you say you like her earrings she may take them out of her ears and hand them to you. Or, she may just invite you in and ask do you want this or this or THIS?

She has adjusted her soft departure date from January to February, March the latest. Definitely not April. By April she is going to be someplace brand new. Until then she is trying to keep the little things in her house working without having to pull out any cash. Specifically she's referring to a sliding screen door.  She's already replaced her front storm door, an unavoidable task for which Cousin Greg was pressed into service (read the exciting story HERE) but she just needs to squeeze a few more months out of the screen door. It leads out back to her deck & sees a lot of daily action. On the weekend that thing might get slid back & forth forty times. 

The trouble began with the door getting knocked off the track and not replaced correctly. Susan marked, in pink nail polish, the exact spot at the bottom of the door where the wheels & the corresponding stationary track should meet so that one only needed to align them to achieve success. 

Anytime Susan returned from a trip during which one of her wonderful keyholding nieces has stayed at her house to care for the dog, she returned to find the screen door scraping atop the wrong track. Small children named KiKi are also known to extend their arms & push through as if they were Frankenstein looking for a way to the backyard. Even the dog has figured out how to nudge open the screen door & knock it on top of herself.

Susan has no such issues with her sliding screen door. If she feels the slightest resistance she looks downward, matches up the two pink spots of nailpolish & gets on with her day. Unfortunately, now a structural problem has developed as the wheels get shoved up into the framework removing Susan's ability to slide her door anywhere. Usually one to give up immediately, instead our plucky heroine embraced the challenge and jury-rigged a pretty effective solution using a bit of plastic & a hammer. 

Hooray for Susan!

Also, as she's done in the past, Susan is going to observe November's NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) and post every day during the month. Once again she wants to remind her modest fan base that they should not expect quality during this period, just quantity.


Susan's got lots of stuff to tell you but she wanted to make sure you caught her current domestic situation; 
Susan is ALONE. She is the solitary human resident of her house, just her &  Lucy the four legged squirrel killer. 
Susan is no longer raising her family, she is one hundred percent nobody needs her ALONE.
Does she miss having her family sitting at the dinner table like they did every night for 18 years? 
Duh, yes. 

Susan is nothing if not adaptable. 

Being home without any hope of someone walking in and interrupting her simple train of thought is really kind of FRIGGIN' AWESOME. 
Underpants only dress code, awesome.
Cleaning the bathroom & finding it still clean the next day, awesome.
Cooking or not cooking, awesome.
Sleeping alone in her kingsize bed, well that's not so awesome although she likes the option of piling everything she's reading over on the empty side. Susan still sticks to her side of the bed which surprises her because back in the day she'd spread out across its entirety if the husband was not available to take up his half.

Susan is still talking about the husband.

It's been a while since she's calculated how long she's endured without him; 1042 days. This number, while impressive, is only a portion of the 20 years, 2 months & 15 days they were married. And that's not even close to the full amount of time they spent running around with each other prior to their legal union.


Without her kids in the house Susan has to do all the chores that she would have previously pawned off on them, like taking out the garbage. However, this small domestic drudgery has already rewarded Susan with being in the perfect spot at the perfect time to watch Mrs. Drunk lurch up her front steps and fall through her screen door into the house. This was followed almost immediately by the detached screen door sailing through the air out onto the front lawn.

Susan actually had to put her hand over her big mouth to keep from laughing out loud.

If you have a minute CLICK HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE to read a few stories about Mr. & Mrs. Drunk.


Did you guys all have a good summer? 

Before we go any further, Susan wants to thank you for overlooking that she's missed an entire season of BLAHging. She's only one little person and can't always get out of her own way, but she promises to do better & appreciates your support.

Now, let her catch you up;

Susan's daughter made the Dean's List for her first year of sleep away college. Susan would like to remind you that the kid has been operating with a dead father & a mother whose ability to pay attention is wobbly. Any ability to pay the tuition will hold up for as long as the kid continues to pull in those scholarships & grants. 

While her daughter has been out working two jobs through the summer to keep from coming home (um, maintain her off campus housing), the son joined the Navy.

Susan's son joined the NAVY!

He came home one night complaining that he didn't like his job & was only going to school because Susan wanted him to.

What? Since when did either of them do anything because Susan wanted them to? 
Ever the fearless mentor, she encouraged him to quit the job and change his life.

It took a few weeks of testing but once he was gone, that was it. Susan is now alone in the house with only the dog to keep her company. During his two months of basic training she got five legible letters in his upgraded naval recruit handwriting and a number of telephone calls, the longest of which lasted more than an hour.

Sidebar: Three years ago Susan would have argued that you obviously didn't know what the f*ck you were talking about if you predicted her son would engage her in an hour long conversation. On any topic, ever.

At the end of July the allotted four family members flew out to Great Lakes, Illinois to see their boy become a Sailor.

And then they hit Chicago for two days!

The rest of Susan's summer was filled with lighthouses, street fairs, a week at the beach with her wonderful work family, Wednesday picnic dinners at the local harborfront, getting three cars repaired, a mother-daughter trip to a riverside town, and a few days of skipping work to accept invitations on the Lisa Ann: 

Thanks for sticking with her, she'll see you tomorrow real soon.


Susan called her mom for Mother's Day and spent half the phone call talking to her dad.
He asked her if she were a history buff (she's not a buff anything) and did she know of the Pulitzer prize winning historian David McCullough? Susan's dad was quite surprised to find that she did not, her knowledge of historical authors being limited to whoever put together the Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, which is an entertaining book regardless.

Susan's dad told her that David McCullough's new book was a collection of speeches he's delivered over the years entitled 'An American Spirit' and he had recently been discussing it on Charlie Rose. Susan thought this sounded like the blandest collection of uninteresting OMG who cares but, she is rarely disappointed in her father's choice of reading material, and she likes Charlie Rose, so she said she'd watch the interview later that evening.

She GTS-ed David McCullough on Charlie Rose and sat enthralled for almost an hour by this series of interviews. Most exciting was his description of the Battle of Brooklyn, in which General Washington & his amateur army of mostly New England farmers got the crap kicked out of them, followed by their miraculous night time escape to Manhattan in which a providential fog is featured. Susan loved his realistic description of Washington as having never commanded an army in his life, who was out-foxed, out-flanked and out-numbered, who made bad mistakes & suffered terrible defeats but did not quit and learned as he went along.

Oh boy!

Memorable also was the story of the Christmas night crossing of the Delaware River with Washington's modest Continental Army, all in sad shape, who marched through the night and attacked the Hessians (well trained German soldiers hired by Britain) at Trenton.
And they won!
One detail stuck with her; the reports of bloody footprints left in the snow by the shoeless soldiers in that winter of 1776.

Eventually she got tired, bookmarked the interview, and went to sleep. The following morning Susan made a point to call her dad to let him know how much she loved the interview and to discuss her favorite parts.

That evening she climbed into bed with a book that was sitting around since the previous weekend when she brought it home from the thrift store. Blood, Bones & Butter; The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef begins with a description of the author's childhood home on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border.

Here is paragraph two from page one;

That part of the world, heavily touristed as it was, was an important location of many events in the American Revolutionary War. George Washington crossed the Delaware here, to victory at the Battle of Trenton, trudging through the snowy woods and surprising the British in spite of some of his troops missing proper shoes, their feet instead wrapped in newspaper and burlap. 


Day Three: The Party

Although the travelling companions try to get out and do something every day, this was not a sight-seeing trip, everyone was in town for a family party. Susan's group were not the only ones to swoop in by plane and it was a big deal for the hosts to have everybody together. Susan was just happy to be out of her house for a couple of days.

Day Three began with sunshine, blue skies, big fluffy clouds and Nat's Coffee Shop where Susan ordered the first thing on the menu, Sausage Eggs Benedict. She almost went with the chorizo and eggs but abandoned it when she saw the sausage was home made.

Verdict: The Sausage Eggs Benedict was so Ah-May-ZING! the travelling companions went there the next morning to eat it again.

The little group was on a strict schedule, after breakfast they still had to fit in a trip to Nordstrom Rack, then pop back to the hotel for a quick nap before getting to the party in time to snag a prime parking spot in the driveway.

It was a good party with lots of prosecco, candles, a digital photo booth, a multiple choice game for prizes and an intense chocolate raspberry cake. However, the guests of honor, as far as Susan was concerned, was carried by these two guys in their big paella pan:
 By the end of the evening Susan was shot, she possessed no more energy to talk or drink or eat or even pay attention. All she wanted to do was go back to the hotel and put on her stretchy pants. The party was still going on, so she harnessed all of her powers of persuasion to convince two thirds of her little group to climb into their rental car and deliver her from having to socialize one moment longer.

The End.

Never, never, never give up. 
~ Churchill


Day Two: Los Angeles

Susan's stomach started growling in the middle of the night. Hours later when she was in a position to do something about it she allowed herself to be blinded by a beautiful donut breakfast. She knew such wonderful sugary nonsense would not sustain her for any length of time, yet that is what she chose. Tales of Susan's misadventure when hungry are legendary in her family, eating a donut in place of a meal doomed her to be hungry again before lunch.
It rained through the entirety of Day Two, a thick fog obscuring any possibility that Susan would see mountains. She spent part of the morning investigating everything in bloom on the California sister's property including something she had only seen in picture books;
a tree on which LEMONS were growing within sight of a tree on which ORANGES were growing!

She saw large bushes of fragrant rosemary studded with little purple flowers, all manner of pink roses and succulents as big as dinner plates.
What kind of a crazy paradise was this?!

The day's plan was to visit the Getty Museum situated above Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains. Their enthusiasm was undeterred even though it was raining pretty substantially, and the beautiful views were obliterated by fog, and they had to walk up the steep hilltop because the tram was delayed until further notice. Yellow umbrellas were provided for all the visitors but Susan declined because she didn't feel like carrying one, so she just got wet.
Once inside Susan traded her photo ID for a headset with an audio tour and took off on her own, stopping where she pleased to listen to the recorded messenger tell her all about whatever she was looking at. Everyone met up at the gift shop where there was much surreptitious purchasing of books for one another.
Later on, the girls all went to an awesome Japanese dollar store where Susan spent $53.96, then to Trader Joe's where a lady with boobs as big as weapons almost knocked over our delicate heroine, then to buy enough prosecco to make it through the evening.


Day One: Getting To Los Angeles

Susan got up very early to get on a plane and fly through the air all the way out to California. She was spending an expanded weekend with three of her long established pals, including her friend who talks to dead people RS, his husband JB and his sister CS, all attending a party hosted by the siblings' other sister. Susan had visited California as a teenager and forty years later her only recollections were of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Street.

Susan had never travelled with her three friends and while she had a few things she might like to do in California she was very content to meander through the next four days making plans by committee. The shenanigans began at the airport when Susan's friend became woozy with anxiety after his sister was removed from line in order to verify her identification. There was really nothing to worry about, but anxiety laughs at logic and he was a singularly focused obsessive nutball until his sister was returned intact.

The plane was approximately two thirds full, something Susan has never experienced, and passengers were encouraged to change their seats as long as they didn't exceed their original financial commitment. Susan's group kept their aisle accommodations making it very easy to interact or not, as they each were only an elbow away.

The flight was long, Susan read her 280 page book and took a nap, but awoke to find she would still imprisoned in her little seat for 2 hours longer. She journeyed up to the lavatory and while sitting in claustrophobic solitude discovered a teeny pull out ashtray incorporated into the door. OMG, how elderly is this plane?! she thought and found no solace considering that it may just be a 1980 era door and Do they get replacement parts from the junkyard like my mechanic?! She returned to her seat and became engaged in a conversation about Hell with her friend which redirected her attention for a while.

LAX looked like a bus depot mated with the DMV. She tried not to get mugged as she waited for everyone to return from the toilet, views of mountains and palm trees did nothing to elevate the experience. Their plan for the rest of the day was to get settled at the hotel then go to the California Sister's home for dinner. Everyone was hungry so Susan suggested the authentic regional dining spot In-N-Out Burger.  The In-N-Out Burger on Ventura Boulevard has two drive-up windows, as well as a walk-up window which is accessed by walking directly in front of the cars exiting the two drive-up windows. The walk-up window is also utilized by employees bringing trays of tomatoes and rolls from an adjacent structure. So, both patrons & employees are in constant danger of being clipped by any number of vehicles driving through the cramped parking lot. The menu is simple; hamburgers with or without cheese, onions or a bun. Outdoor seating was their only option so the travellers strode through the middle of some pot smoking teens to sit at a cement table and eat their dribbly burgers.

Verdict: Susan would eat one again although she prefers Wendy's Junior Cheeseburger Deluxe

The rest of the day was a blur of hugs, laughter, prosecco & tortilla pizzas with chicken sausage followed by insomnia.


Susan looked at the gold HAPPY NEW YEAR sign still taped above the doorway and realized it was the last new year she'd spend in her house.

Susan's up for a change, she's known for a while she was leaving but has been soft on the departure date. She's headed four states south where there's a bunch of grandkids and one great grandkid growing up without her singular form of interaction. Susan has proven that she stinks at keeping in touch so her plan is to move where she can bang on their doors & see them in person.

It's a good little house she's giving up. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but she made it a nice place to raise her family, and after the husband died it kept them close while they recovered. She remembers the day it first came into her consciousness, a printed page with a picture, one of a dozen houses she & the husband were considering for that weekend's house hunt. 'It looks stupid' she said then crumpled the page and threw it in the garbage. The husband disagreed, 'humor me' he said, and she did.

The clearing out of excess crap began earlier this month when she took the Xmas wreath off the front door & deposited it directly into the garbage. Then she threw out more Xmas stuff. Then regular stuff. The rule is, if she has to stop & think about it, she gets rid of it. A good rule.

Susan's giving herself till the end of this year, she knows it's a long way off, but she wants one last year in New York before she leaves to grow old and die in North Carolina.


Susan talked on the phone a whole bunch today, this is her least preferred form of communication, that's why she hates it.

It all started with her Friend Who Talks To Dead People who called for his standard reason; to tell Susan he was thinking of her & he loved her. They discussed how his mom was doing, and her new found softening, a symptom of her advancing age. They strategized when they could squeeze in a trip planning meeting, also known as an excuse to have cocktails, to discuss a long weekend in California next month, and how they would get to JFK on time.

Next Cousin Greg called to conversify* on a number of topics starting with a compliment about Susan's daughter, then imminent, short & long term plans, his woodshop, and their shared grief.

*You may thank Cousin Greg for coming up with this word.

Later Aunt Eileen called to inquire what Susan would like her to bring to a family party on Saturday, shared recollections about keeping company with Susan's mother while she was in the family way with Susan and formulated a plan for a girls-only trip down to see Susan's parents in Florida.

The day ended with a nearly-bed-time call from Susan's friend Cyndi (yes, she really spells her name that way) in which they discussed, for 90 minutes, their kids, their jobs, truthfulness, and voicing compliments.

Susan is aware that this is not the best example of a well constructed BLAHg post, but she's tired and out of practice.


Happy New Year, guys!

Here's what Susan did on the first day of the new year:

  • Got out of bed when she felt like it after staying up till 3am watching the Downton Abbey marathon
  • Watched more Downton Abbey
  • Ate the last of the panettone for breakfast
  • Met little sister for a winter walk in a fave spot
  • Ducked into a teeny local church and learned how to take a panoramic photo
  • Saw a deer on somebody's lawn
  • Conversated with her Friend Who Talks To Dead People on the phone
  • Conversated with Wild Bill & Harriet on the phone
  • Ate roast pork dinner at little sister's house, fought to keep cats and dogs from climbing all over her then napped through most of Vertigo
  • Made a pear, lemon juice, ginger, spinach, bee pollen & cayenne smoothie for work the next day
  • Thought of her absent husband
  • Thought of her beloved Cousin Lisa