Susan was walking the dog this evening and turned when she heard the husband call her name.
Immediately she realized her mistake. She looked over at the person who had done the calling; he was the opposite of a big burly Irishman, and he definitely wasn't calling Susan. Still, she stood there soaking in the little split second in which everything was suspended and she was simply about to respond to her husband.

It's a whole new world for our gentle heroine. Susan has done what she's been threatening to do and moved herself down to North Carolina, the land of trees, music and strange bugs. She's given up the cushy do-what-you-want elbow room of her former house and now rents apartment 1-C with her roommate Lucy the restricted breed dog.

Even though Susan has traded in square footage and a bit of privacy, she still likes where she landed. Unfortunately she's got a couple of things driving her nuts, like the bugs (see above) and the neighbor who smokes on the patio all day every day, completely gassing Susan's little outdoor paradise. But, she has a two prong plan; incense and bedtime prayers for the unseen neighbor to hurry up and die of cancer. Oh yeah, die. Susan's not gonna be nice about this.

Since Lucy no longer has a fenced in yard to roam, roll around in, and poop throughout, Susan has to walk her. First thing in the morning the girls are up and out, Susan enjoys the early morning walk but after a while it's very boring to watch Lucy smell every browned patch, plop of duck poop and lamp post base. And when another dog comes in to view they turn around and head the other way. Lucy is not a lover of other animals.

Anyway, that's enough for today. Susan doesn't want to strain herself with the first BLAHg post in three, um four months. She's missed BLAHg-ing and thought about it every day. The husband calling to her from beyond was just the prodding that she needed.

In the meantime she hopes everyone has a grand day.


Susan did a bunch of crazy things on Saturday and they all involved being outside. Now, Susan is a big fan of being outside as long as she is in a seated position and out of direct sunlight. This particular day was special because there were a number of miserable tasks our Susan wanted done and no one to whom she could delegate them.

In no particular order this is what she did:

  • Ascended a ladder (a ladder!) to pull debris out of her gutters
  • Reinstalled an 8 foot downspout which had been lying on the side of the house all winter, and by reinstalled Susan means that she improvised a solution using available resources 
  • Removed screens and washed windows
  • Remained bent over for an extended period of time while she pulled weeds out by their roots
  • Relocated broken tree branches
  • Raked leaves then put them into a wheelbarrow and transported them to the compost pile
  • And lastly, lopped off vines and branches of weeds that had grown into trees
The ordeal left Susan dirty, itchy, sweaty, punctured & bloody. If you wish to read about a previous instance in which Susan did 'yard work' please CLICK HERE.


Even though she didn't think she had much to do Susan managed to fill her Memorial Day weekend with friends and family and firepits and food and getting big cocktail rings stuck on her finger in Nordstrom Rack and filling her hallway with boxes of everything she's getting rid of and being remembered by a waitress who only served her once (even what she ate!) and listening to a 17 piece band play Frank Sinatra music with Aunt Eileen & Uncle Joe and buying a Craigslist bike with her daughter from Ravi in the rain and buying yet another polka dot dress  and meeting Mitchie's family and eating brownies for the first time in five months and making a couple of decisions about things and enjoying a meandering trip with her little sister & bro-in-law out east and visiting her beloved Cousin Lisa & Bob Smith where they rest with more than two hundred thousand of their brothers and sisters and having a nice picnic at The Peconic River Herb Farm where she considered making an overpriced impulse purchase of a handmade light up tin sign but opted for three succulents instead before ending the day at Melissa & Andy's house for a family barbecue and some turkey watching.  


Susan went food shopping on her way home from work. Her supermarket provides her with a hand held scanning gun so she can scan each item as she drops them into her cart. When she's done she just rolls up to the Do It Yourself checkout, lets the register read her gun, all her purchases appear on the screen, then she pays & she's out the door. No more lines or cashiers or ringing things up or packing groceries into bags. She just pays & goes. If she's really smart she'll have brought her big blue IKEA bag with her, but she rarely does.

On this trip her scanner beeped but did not record all of her groceries. She figured this out at the Do It Yourself checkout when her total was roughly fifty dollars cheaper than it should have been. The disembodied voice from within the register told her you may scan additional items now.
F*ck that. She grumbled under her breath & started sorting through her cart to figure out what had not been recorded by the scanner. She looked around, there was usually an employee who would pop over at the first sign of trouble, but instead the disembodied voice told her if you are ready you may finish and pay.

Finish and pay fifty dollars less, yes please.

No one came to keep Susan from stealing groceries, but neither did Susan stop herself. Instead she paid, turned in her gun and cooly headed for the parking lot. She knew she was wrong but kept going. Machine error was not her responsibility. She repeated this lie to herself a few times.

Susan went home, unpacked her groceries, sat down at the computer and made a sixty dollar contribution to Long Island Cares, an organization started by Harry Chapin to feed the hungry.


Susan didn't shower this weekend, she brushed her teeth and washed her face but that was it. She spent a cold rainy Saturday & gorgeous warm Sunday clearing out her basement.

Remember when Susan threatened to be out of New York by April? Or before that, in January? Well, she wasn't ready, so she took a little more time.
Now our Susan is prepared to starting behaving like she's moving. She's been chucking her extraneous belongings for over a year, but last week she packed her first box of things to bring with her. She marked it KEEP to reduce any possibility of confusion.

Over the previous two weeks she purged half the books she owns, now she just has what fits on her shelves plus a little extra. And her cookbooks.

This weekend was the basement.

The basement is serious territory filled with big plastic bins, furniture, tools, art supplies, Christmas crap, photographs and petrified spiders. Susan dragged the big plastic bins up the stairs and went thru them one by one, getting rid of almost everything they held. Once empty she threw them in the shower, put them on the deck to dry, then stacked them in a corner. They will eventually transport whatever she's taking.

The Christmas crap was done in no time, everything went except the little light up Santa bought in Maine with her friend Kate, the plastic sandwich baggie wreath that Susan's daughter made in grade school, and a modest tin of decorations.

The photographs were going to take some time. Susan had previously reduced 4 shoeboxes of photographs down to one, but now she had entire photo albums to consider. One was easy, she looked through it, smiled at the pictures, then tossed it into the garbage. Goodbye.


Susan owns a new, modern, high functioning phone!

Having packages Fed-exed to one's front door in order to sit unattended for hours is insane, but also very convenient. So, there it was on her stoop waiting for the first person who came along to pick it up. Luckily that person was our Susan.

Susan is not one for figuring out electronics and planned to bring her new phone to the New Phone Store the following day. There's one right down the block from work and the last time she was there the New Phone Store employee was very helpful. She looked forward to having him help her again.

Upon arrival she did not see her preferred employee, but another stepped up to assist her. She handed over both old and new phones to have done whatever was needed in order to have all her contacts, pictures and notes transferred, as well as the four apps her old phone allowed her to download. Her contribution to this process was to have charged the phone overnight.

The New Phone Store employee worked silently pressing buttons, asking her passwords, none of which she could remember, but which he ultimately was able to circumvent. He continued for a couple of wordless minutes pressing buttons and could have been emptying her bank account for all she knew.

She took notice that each of his fingernails were dirty.

How unusual. Other than her auto mechanic, Susan doesn't normally encounter people who maintain their fingernails in such a state. It was certainly poor hygiene and terrible customer service. She couldn't look at him and wondered how quickly would she be able to plunge her phones into bleach after they were returned to her, and then her own hands after she touched them?

Susan turned completely away from the filthy fingered employee and searched the store for absolutely anything else to look at. There were only two employees; the one emptying Susan's bank account, and another helping a couple next to her. There was a third person, a woman in her forties playing with an iPad-looking thing. She appeared to be standard issue I don't care anymore with unkempt hair, jeans, sneakers, a sweatshirt and...gasp! a name badge.
She was an employee? Heavens!

What kind of a place was this?

Enough with those two. Susan really wants to tell you about her phone. Not the phone so much, but what it has taught her about herself. But first, a sidebar:

Susan had been driving an elderly BMW since February of 2014. Prior to this she spent two years sharing a car with the husband, and by sharing a car she means that the husband had primary custody. Please feel free to refresh your memory by reading THIS and THIS
Susan liked the elderly BMW, but she didn't love it and only held onto it for misguided sentimental reasons. Each year brought a reduction in automotive quality of life; the motors in the front windows failed and were repaired twice, the CD player refused to either play or vacate the last CD inserted,
the side view mirrors moved on their own and the little inside knob to adjust them didn't work necessitating Susan to manually fix them by hanging out the windows at red lights, dashboard sensors came on & disappeared, the front directional lights were always blowing out and the driver side seat warmer burned Susan's bottom.
There were also BIG under the hood repairs, but you get the idea.
The straw that broke Susan's back came when the car refused to unlock or lock without an additional thousand dollar expenditure.
Two weeks later she had a slightly used new car, one in which everything worked, with a sunroof and bluetooth speakers for perfectly clear hands-free conversations, one with a warranty, and one with which she fell immediately in love.

Worth noting: she cried out loud like a baby widow the first morning she drove it to work. 

The car has taught Susan that even though it was nice not to have a car payment for a number of years, it's also nice to spend money on something that is worth having.

Susan never cared about bluetooth until she experienced the ability to hear every word of her phone conversations. Did you see how Susan underlined that sentence? It's important to her. She often would just hang up in the middle of a phone call exhausted because she couldn't raise the speaker phone volume to be loud enough or shove the phone into her ear far enough to hear properly.

For the price of two medium sized repairs Susan purchased an extended warranty and drives worry free because Toyota is in charge of fixing any disasters. Toyota is like her husband now. 

Back to the phone.

Month after year Susan put off upgrading her circa 2014 phone.

Worth noting: The husband purchased this phone for himself in his final month on earth and Susan took it over after he died. See a pattern?

Susan didn't want a super fancy phone because she didn't think she used one thoroughly enough to require such high standards. She's not a teenager & didn't listen to music or watch videos, or play games. All she really did was text and talk and look stuff up and read her emails & the NY Times and get places using Google maps and and listen to NPR and call an Uber and do her banking and keep track of everything she wants to remember and wake herself up in the morning and figure out what she can't eat on Weight Watchers and play her wireless speakers at home (thanks Cousin Greg!) and look at Instagram and take pictures.

Susan likes taking pictures and needed a phone with a good camera. So she got a good upgrade. 

In the past five days the phone has taught Susan that she should have a new, modern and high functioning phone to take better pictures and listen to Morning Edition as she showers, and hear conversations with tremendous clarity, and store all sorts of information without being threatened with lack of storage, and organize all her pictures into easy accessibility, and if an app interests her she can download it like magic just because she wants to. 

And why shouldn't she? 


Susan just concluded a week in rainy, sunny, thundery, rainy, chilly and sunny again Florida visiting the Old Folks. Since we last checked in with them the Old Folks have gotten older, but so has Susan and everyone else in the world.

Susan's travelling companions included four of her immediate and much loved family members, many if not all, have been featured here. It was a lovely trip with one exception, the amount of talking most of these companions inflicted upon our poor Susan was oppressive. She has always maintained a low tolerance for unnecessary and redundant conversation, and this low tolerance was tested on the way to the airport.

Susan suspected that Chris the Uber driver tried to discourage, what will henceforth be known as The Talking, by playing his AC/DC music loud. This crowd didn't care, everyone talked at once, over each other, and about nothing particularly interesting. Chris the Uber driver turned his music louder. The Talking got louder.

Side bar: The lone person exempt from this behavior knows who she is.

The Talking continued all week long. Under normal circumstances Susan leaves the area when a conversation disinterests her, but being trapped in the car while everyone fights for the right to have words spill out of their mouth was agonizing. Susan stared out the window wishing the world would end.

She knows what you're thinking, where are your headphones old girl? Well, Susan is not in the habit of using headphones, so she never has a pair with her. She did purchase a cheap pair of earbuds while on her trip but they did not work effectively in her circa 2014 phone. Susan has been aware for a while that she should get herself a new phone; the battery drains quickly, she can't download a new app without first having to delete an old one & every day she gets a message that she's running out of storage space. Otherwise the phone works great.

There is no f*cking way that Susan is ever again going to allow herself to be trapped in an environment of unrestrained blathering. When she got home she ordered a new phone & bought a pair of headphones. She even negotiated a waiver of the thirty dollar upgrade fee (which is total bullsh*t anyway).

Oh, and she found this in her luggage:
TSA touched her dirty underpanties.


When last we left off Susan was telling you about three ghost stories told to her by two friends. She still owes you the story of George, but she's not in the mood for ghost stories right now so she'll save it for another day.

A lot went on last year, not everything got twistedsusaned. 

She continues to experience little coincidental things which she feels are not coincidences. Most recently a senior gentleman sang to her the entirety of 'You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby', and Susan was struck by the feeling that it was the husband being sweet to her from afar. Susan's absent husband sang to her for more than thirty years and even though this was not one of his usual songs she's not going to nitpick over the details.

Susan lost two long standing friends, both were in their fifties which she thinks is pretty rotten because that is her current decade of being. What's going on with all these principal people in Susan's life dying years ahead of schedule? Who the f*ck knows.

Anyway, there was mostly good stuff that happened to Susan during the year, here's a partial list;

She went to Texas hill country to visit her pal Cyndi (yes she really spells her name that way), it was a super nice trip. Here's a picture:

She went to Paris with her sister in September and LOVED it. Here's a picture:

At the same time Susan's daughter went to Morocco and had her phone & ID stolen on day three. Picture:

Then came the new year:

In January Susan went down south to see her Navy man.
No picture.

In February Susan marked three years without her beloved Cousin Lisa.

On Saint Paddy's day Aunt Eileen hosted a big shindig and Susan ate Shepherd's Pie and drank Guinness with her cousins & her cousins' cousins.

On Easter Sunday (or as Susan likes to call it, Sunday) mother & daughter had a date at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, but since only the Star Magnolias were blooming in the bereft & barren New York spring, they had plenty of time to walk next door to the Brooklyn Museum and spend hours at the David Bowie exhibit.
(Susan's review: Bloody brilliant!).
Worth noting: Susan also liked Mecca Journeys.

Anyway, there we are, totally up to date.