Blog Post 1000

images-1When my friend Amy put the site up for me as a birthday gift in July, 2011, who knew I’d still be behind the helm. I figured I’d fool around a bit, then jump ship.

Wonders never cease.

I treat athingirl.com like a job, never thinking of not keeping her afloat no matter what. If I have to work early, I get up earlier so she shows her funny face.

Even at my worst moment, if I have to crawl, I post. Blogging taught me a lot about myself. I’m dedicated and constant easily making a deadline, and most important…

LOVE TO WRITE.

Someone once said I was wasting my time writing for free. But for me, writing anything is an annuity building muscle for whatever you’ll pen in the future. It’s like doing laps in a pool or practicing your putting. You’ll get better at anything doing it every day.

I’m grateful to Amy who I argued with, but gratefully finally said yes to. “We can take it down if you don’t like it…but for now you’ll have a place to write if you need it.”

And did I need it.

When you’re separated from your art for whatever reason, all is not well in one’s world.

This was my very first blog post.

WordPress, along with Amy, I salute you today.

The Truth About Amy

I’m one of those quirky New Yorkers who has no friends. I’ve had them from time to time, but at the moment I get death threats hurled through my window for not returning a call or an article of clothing, but then along came Amy.

Amy is beautiful, bright, funny and extremely generous. Who knew?  She encouraged me to start blogging, no easy feat since the mere thought sent me to The King Cole Bar in a gypsy cab. I’m so private I make Greta Garbo look like Lady Ga Ga, so this is a helluva big deal for me.

One day Amy cheerfully suggested, “Rather than turning the gas on Susannah, why not blog your blues away?” Hmm, I thought, lowering the oven to 350 baking a chicken instead.

She did all the work, encouraged me when the site rejected my AmEx card for reasons still unknown convinced it was a guy I blew off…but what I realized after she had to be hospitalized for extreme cyber exhaustion, I do have a friend.

So thanks Amy.  images

 

Posted in humor, New York City, writing | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments

Like Living In The Alps

imagesThe view from my window looks like a Currier and Ives lithograph…snow as far as the eye can see.

With the exception of emergency vehicles, all cars have been ordered off the road.

The biggest deal is no public transportation meaning, New York City is truly shut down. The people that make it work, like the baker at Panera for instance, can’t get here to make my medium sesame with a schmear…sigh.

I’m here drinking muddy coffee with toast, no butter, not quite prepared for a house arrest.

Schools, stores, the stock exchange…all closed…even Neofytos, the deli up the block that never closes,…CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED.

I suppose it’s a time for reflection…to have more respect for Juan the delivery boy and Guillermo who slices my cheese.

They’ll be no mail today, another issue, since I’m expecting checks I can’t cash because the BANKS ARE FUCKING CLOSED. I’m sorry, that just had to come out.

What happened to: neither SNOW nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. All talk, and they wonder why we now get our stamps online.

I’ve been taken hostage by the snow that according to AOL has shifted gears. We won’t be having that avalanche today after all…it has tapered off, but the city is still frozen, pun intended, until further notice…

and so am I.

Shit.

SB

Posted in humor, New York City | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

God In Small Corners

I’ve been finding comfort in the tiniest of things.

I was running around the track when I saw a woman staring at something. It was a hawk three feet from her sitting on a low branch.  images-1 It looked female, small, but not enough to be a baby and was she stunning. Not beautiful, more like the Barbara Streisand of birds.  images I reached for my new phone to take her picture, but while fumbling, she took flight. “Isn’t nature wild?” I said to the woman, not meaning to be clever. She smiled and ran off.

Later on I was in Soho when I saw an old bakery looking right out of Palermo. images-2It was wedged between all these chic boutiques as if it didn’t belong despite it being there first. I peered in the window stocked with loaves and rolls, flour dusting the panes.

A rotund, Italian woman waved from inside, beckoning me in.

“Signora…cafe?” I didn’t really want coffee in the middle of the day but said yes anyway.

She pointed to an old cafe table and chair in a far corner. The aroma of bread baking made me think of my Grandfather’s cellar smelling quite the same.

Pop, are you here?

After bringing me a cup and a chipped china saucer, she said, “Kookie?”

“Yes, please,” feeling like a little girl again in the company of her aunt.

The woman was so cute, like an animated cookie jar, but when I gave her my credit card she said, “No ca-edit….cosh oon-ly.”

Uh-oh.

“Let me run to the bank,” I said, leaving my two shopping bags on the chair as collateral.

“No, Signora, eeds okee,” the fat on her upper arm jiggling in protest.

I ignored her, running out before it hit me. Susannah, she wants to be kind to you. It was coffee and a cookie for heaven’s sake. So instead of the cash machine, I went to the Korean deli and bought her a bouquet of pink tea roses.  images

“Ah, bellissimo,” she said, hugging them to her chest. Later, when I looked inside my shopping bag, I found three more kookies.

On my way home, I watched a set of twins playing in a park, one hitting the other. I couldn’t help laughing since it had a Laurel and Hardy feel to it.

“It’s not funny,” said the mother, shaking her head.

“Sure it is,” I said, “they’re little.”

“I have a twin brother I used to hit just like that and hated him all through school.”

“How do you feel about him now?”

“I love him, but it took a while.” That’s when we both laughed.images-4

God is in small things, if you take the time to find them.

SB

Posted in Family, food, humor, kids, Love, New York City | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

Cyberly Fucked

imagesimagesimages-1images-2No, this isn’t about sex online, when you happily heave-ho through your computer screen.

It’s becoming versed in the cyber powers that be.

I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, Shebooks, Reddit, Pinerest and Tumblr. With the exception of re-posting a blog essay on the first two, the rest of the girls are virtually on their own.

The time required to man all these sites is mind-boggling. When does one have time to write when they’re so immersed in social media? Yet I know it can be done…have met masters at it, who man the helm like seasoned sailors.

I had someone ask how many blogs do I read?

Maybe 5 on a regular basis, 2 or 3 more occasionally. I just don’t have time to keep up with my bloggy brethren.

But that’s a poor excuse, I’m told, and not thinking of the advantages.

It would increase my visibility…get more followers and possibly sell more of those eBooks of mine, the latter of course pricking up my ears.

I ask myself, Susannah, are you just lazy? Can’t you attempt to try a little harder?

The mere idea, I won’t lie, exhausts me.

My friend Amy is a cyber wizard having anything scientific soaring through her veins. When she was a kid she built a robot from scratch and taught herself ventriloquism.

When I was a kid I rode a scooter and had an Easy Bake Oven.

It’s no wonder she’s a successful online business woman while I’m cyberly challenged, and still can’t cook.

Where am going with all this?

To the fridge to flip open a beer I bought earlier while I muse on this further.

I will say, self-promotion is an art. It’s right up there with selling anything, in this case it just happens to be you.

Preening for attention is a toughie for me. I know, but you’re a model…aren’t you accustomed to attention by now?

You would think.

I’ve always been the one who skulks in with a bag over her head hoping not to be seen en route to the bar.

I suppose when you think of it, it is the one advantage of a selling yourself online.

No one gets to see you…just the rumor and alleged myth.

Now there’s a possible selling point.

SB

 

Posted in humor, media, modeling, New York City, writing | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

One Good Book Leads To Another

images-2imagesimages-1

I never know what I’m going to read.

Belonging to a library where you’re granted the privilege of roaming the stacks, it’s amazing what you come across.

Perusing through Biography, I found a book in diary form written in 2008 by Eleanor Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola’s wife, that goes back to the casting of all three Godfathers to Sofia Coppola making her third film, Marie Antoinette, in 2005.

I felt like a fly on the wall privy to her candid observations.

She reveals so much, like how she felt in 1986 when her eldest son, Gio, was killed in a boating accident making me weep for her and every mother who’s ever lost a child.

When I finished Notes On A Life, I then picked up a modest bio on Marlon Brando, by Patricia Bosworth, realizing how little I knew about him. How he never felt he was really as good as the world thought he was. There was also the generous Marlon who adored his mother, and the one who loved animals. At one point he had a pet raccoon he’d walk on a leash and feed milkshakes to who’d guzzle them like pints of beer

There was also the outrageous Marlon who would drive everybody nutty with his demands and perfectionism. And we mustn’t forget the one who gained 300 pounds.

After that I wanted more of Mrs. Coppola so I’m reading Notes, about the making of Apocalypse Now written in 1979. She also made an award winning documentary called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, that, like the film it’s based on, still takes your breath away.

Her book begins with all the actors Francis wanted who said no.

Steve McQueen, James Caan, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino…even Robert Redford before he went with Harvey Keitel replacing him early on with Martin Sheen. He gave Marlon Brando an incredible fee for the role of Colonel Kurtz who almost drove him out of his mind with his craziness.

The conditions in the Philippines were more than challenging: excessive heat, huge winds,  even a typhoon that took out all the roads and destroyed much of the equipment.

Eleanor Coppola was a real trooper staying there to be with Francis. I thought, this woman really loves her husband yet tells how the experience almost cost her her marriage.

Did you know Martin Sheen had a serious heart attack during filming?

That the Coppolas talked seriously about getting a divorce when Francis announced he was in love with another woman?

Eleanor Coppola has now become a hero of mine…her openness, courage and determination to keep her family together made me take pause.

How she didn’t chase him around with a cleaver is a mystery to me, but women, when we love, we love big.

Let’s hear it for great writing.

SB

 

Posted in Books, Cinema, Family, History, Love, sexual relationships, Women and men, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

New York At Her Best

images-3 Yesterday I was complaining of her sassy attitude, but Ms Manhattan showed me her other side.

I had to be in lower Manhattan at 6 a.m near street names foreign to me: Erricson, Beach, Vestry all of which were not on any current map.

I hopstopped it, a site where you put in your starting point and address of where you’re going and they tell you how to go. In this case it all looked Greek to me.

I decide the safest thing to do was to get on the train early enough to give myself ample time to get lost. The great thing about the number 6 is it’s packed day or night so you’re never alone. It’s the reason they’re building the Second Avenue subway, to relieve the Upper East Side of its commuter congestion.

So after 20 agonizing minutes trying hard not to jump in a cab, the train finally comes.

I even got a seat next to a middle aged man who at one point falls asleep on my shoulder I shake off like a big bug. Unperturbed, he just put his head on the guy’s shoulder on his other side who looks at me and says, “It’s oo-key leedy, he’s my bra-ther.”

So I find myself in a deserted neighborhood way downtown.

Uh-oh

I do remember an all night Dunkin Donuts nearby, so acting like Sonny Corleone worried he’ll get whacked, I walk into the smell of freshly brewed coffee images(and a touch of BO) packed with all-night street workers in bright yellow jump- suits. It was as if I was in the midst of a bunch of bumblebees. imagesNow, an hour early, I decide to have a large latte and wait.

The bees are very polite making room for me in-between their tool belts and hard hats. It took everything I had not to ask whether or not they get dental coverage since none of them had very promising teeth. You’d think the city would have better insurance for these hard-working men.

One guy leans over and says,”If you don’t mind me akskin, whaddya doin ova hea all by yo-self?”

I say what I always say, “Paying the rent.”

I then let it be known I’m not sure where I’m going, so they all get out their smart phones and figure out where exactly I have to be.

I am so touched by their concern I offer to buy a round of coffee I’m so happy they refuse, my Visa bleeding in my pocket.

“Ya know Miss, this ain’t no place to be at dis ta-m a’ night.”

“Yeah, I know, but here I am anyway.”

“You need a donut or sumpin?”

“No, I’m good, thanks.”

I feel like Dorothy, just with bees rather than Munchkins.

When leaving, I bump into two trash collectors having a smoke.

They look at me and nod.

“Where you goin?” one asked as I check my directions.

“129 Hudson Street.” They look at one another.

“Ain’t that a school,” the other said. This thrills me because now I know what to look for. But the best part…they decide to walk me there. images-6

I try dissuading them, but they won’t hear of it.

“We needs a walk ena-way.”

So not only am I on time, but escorted by two big, burly men who do smell like wet produce, but under the circumstances, a girl just has to let that go.

New York, when she’s at her best, she’s practically Godlike… images AMEN.

SB

Posted in food, friendship, Gratitude, humor, New York City, Women and men | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

A Way With Words

images-1Churlish: an adjective suggesting rudeness in a mean-spirited and surly way…ill-mannered, ill-bred, discourteous, impolite, unmannerly, uncivil, unchivalrous; inconsiderate, uncharitable, surly, sullen.

Here’s what tickles me…its opposite…POLITE.

It came up in a comment I made to my friend David Stewart
greenwalledtower.wordpress.com picking it like an apple off a tree. It’s never a word I use, so go figure, yet it fits more often than not.

I can only speak for my own city, but New York has reached a level of incivility I can only describe as monumental. You see it everywhere you go. Establishments don’t require employees to be courteous anymore. You’re lucky you leave with your merchandise, exact change and the legs you walked in on. People growl instead of smile, snarl rather than wish you a nice day. And it doesn’t matter if you do first. You’re looked upon like an idiot expecting someone to care.

My naivete will never accept this as the new norm though it doesn’t seem to be changing.

This morning a man dropped his cap on the ground, so in the rain I ran to give it to him. He looked at me with disdain grabbing it from my hand. Not even a nod let alone a thank you. And that’s not to say I require one, but come on, it was his cap he would have missed when that rain came down a little harder.

I thought about it as I sat in Panera drinking coffee. He was more than a little churlish, now wasn’t he? He was downright ungracious, insolent, boorish and brash. Sassy, saucy showing a little too much cheek at 6:30 in the morning.

I do love the word cheeky, cheek’s cousin, that can have an innocent spin as well as a churlish one. To be irreverent harmlessly or cocky with one’s remarks.

Words are really a gift since they can break down human behavior where you can at least have a better understanding of why the world is spewing its unrest at the speed of light.

I’d rather take the sunny route as in polite…mannerly and cordial…ladylike, tactful, genteel and correct. Refined, with regard caring for the feelings of others.

I wish I could start a trend.

Hail Mary…full of grace…but even she doesn’t know what to make of all this.

SB

Posted in humor, New York City, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

Seen Through Your Eyes

I’m still at a point in my writing where I care what the world thinks of me hesitating to shock with the inappropriate.

For instance, there’s an essay in my pipeline called Cyberly F–ked I just can’t bring myself to post. What will you think of me using such a crass term, yet when I changed it to screwed it just didn’t have the same punch. Using the word in passing seems less stunning, but in a title…will you delete me from your follower list?

There’s a 12 Step slogan that comes to mind: What you think of me is none of my business.

Sure wish I can own that one.

I blame it on Connecticut where my mother, who was so inappropriate in her own life, still hypocritically influences mine…you can’t say that…what will they think for godssake? I raised you to be a lady remember.

I’m a lady alright, right down to my double-strand of pearls I’d like to strangle her with…if she weren’t already at that great big Bloomingdales in the sky that is.

Reminds me of an old Saturday Night Live when Mary Tyler Moore, always perceived as the good girl, repeatedly said penis to prove even Mary Richards wasn’t as pure as freshly fallen snow.

I’m hanging from a thread in so many areas, yet here I am trying to maintain what society claims is right and just.

And what does society know anyway when you come right down to it.

Fuck that…I mean screw that.

See, the latter just doesn’t have the same punch.

imagesSB

 

Posted in humor, writing | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Peeing At The Waldorf

250px-Waldorf_Astoria_exteriorThe world knows how much I love a good hotel, but it’s more than just to blow a wad in its overpriced bar.

It’s the whole package, from the majesty of its architecture, to the history that beckons.

I was making my way to an appointment when the Waldorf Astoria on 50th and Park Avenue, came into view. It’s a favorite of mine for many reasons.

They have Cole Porter’s piano, a tribute, after being a long time resident dying in 1954. images-1 The Bull and Bear Bar, like the Carlyle’s Bemelmans, gleams in all its male mahogany prowess.

There’s an underground railroad, Track 61, though no longer in use FDR rode in on, with a Pullman elevator to take him to his rooms…a testament to a certain way of life long gone.

Whenever I stroll through the immense lobby now filled with tourists in jeans and sneakers, I can still see what it was like when you never dared enter an establishment so grand unless you were dressed in your very best.

Porters pushing trunks lined the lobby, not squeaky suitcases on wheels.

Patrons were known as guests rather than tourists, many just embarking from ocean liners with names like Astor and Vanderbilt since they were the first builders of the finest hotels: The Astoria Hotel, The St. Regis, the original Waldorf on 33th Street and Fifth where the Empire State Building now stands.

Nothing slipshod, untidy or hit-or-miss in those days. A fine hotel was a haven for the well-heeled who happily paid to be catered to the hilt.

As I came bounding down Park I do what I always do whenever I pass by…I go in…climb the little staircase to poke my head into the ladies room met by a pretty woman in a crisp starched uniform. We smile, knowing she’s there to assist like in the old days, even though no one tips anymore oblivious to the forgotten custom.

The commodes are interred in little rosewood rooms, door secured, a pretty scent wafting with three-ply paper towels brandishing the Waldorf crest.

I emerge refreshed from my few private moments, putting some coins in the woman’s tiny  basket receiving smiles in return.

After smoothing my hair and adding a little gloss I think, how I’ve just rubbed elbows with another era I so wish remained.   images

SB

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

It’s A Miracle, I Can Walk

imagesThere’s a middle-aged black man who sits on the corner of 79th and Madison in an old, beat-up wheelchair directly in front of the J Crew Mens store.

He sits with a cup and bible held together by string in threadbare pants, sneakers and an old army coat.

I must pass him 10 times a day.

I’ve learned to give money to people who truly open my heart, and there’s something about him that doesn’t do that…and yes…I do occasionally suffer guilt over it.

Call it instinct or Italian intuition, but his mere presence bothers me.

I love the J Crew Mens store. Sometimes I just go in to drool over the buffet of salesmen, one better looking than the other, often wondering if they have a farm someplace where they grow them like ears of sweet corn.

The manager, a guy in his 30s, makes my heart pound since there’s no lack of charm there either. Tall, leggy…a cross between Eric Clapton, Clooney and an awfully cute cocker spaniel. I find myself flirting asking things like…so are these flannel pajamas really as warm as you say?

The one problem tooling into J Crew is I have to pass the guy in the wheelchair reading psalms.

One day, as I was coming back from a job, who do I see pushing his wheelchair toward the bus stop…YES…HIM.

Wait a minute, you mean to tell me, you’re not even crippled? That fucking chair is part of your act?

Boy, did I want to smack him. All the people all day who give him money, and food and God knows what else because he pulls at their heart strings…AND HE’S NOT EVEN HANDICAPPED?

I’m sorry…it just inflames me to no end.

When I saw the manager from J Crew, I brought it up. He laughed and said,”You didn’t know that guy’s a fake? He’s as strong as an ox…I even offered him a stock job.”

This threw me too, that I was the last to know, in my own neighborhood.

The next time I saw him he had a HUGE popcorn container I imagine because holiday tips were so good. He looked at me with phony handicapped eyes and said, “Could you spare a little ya think?”

Wow…did I see red. “I looked at him right in the eye and said, “You can walk buddy…you can fucking walk.”

I actually felt bad afterwards but talked myself out of it. There are so many people who truly can’t walk, like a young girl who lives on 81st Street with Cerebral Palsy I’ve known since she was 9.

One good thing came out of it though…I will never question my intuition again.

I actually owe it an apology.

Welcome to New York folks.

SB

 

 

 

Posted in Health, humor, New York City | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments