If I Had Money

I ‘d stand in front of Theory’s window drooling over their little spring dresses in beige and pink. Is that aqua I see peaking behind a bashful blue? Makes you want to pick up a Faulkner novel and read on a swing…White-Wooden-Porch-Swings-Design-With-Striped-Yellow-Cushion a scotch sour on a side table, a bowl of blueberries to sweeten the taste.

I’d buy a new purse…something light and roomy…in canvas, with an elegant leather strap. Hopefully it has kitten heels to match in faux alligator, soft to the touch.

Looking so nice I’d want to go someplace and since West Palm’s too far, I’d hop the Acela for DC with the New Yorker and David Sedaris under my arm.

Did you think I was going to say Paris? Washington is my Paris, the Capitol, my Eiffel Tower.

As I tool through Union Station I see the dome in the distance remembering how Lincoln refused to stop its construction during the Civil War, a sure sign the union would prevail. images-9

I think of Mr. Lincoln that brings me to Walt Whitman who wrote so beautifully of him in When the Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d. It was about Lincoln’s funeral train and how mourners lined the tracks holding handfuls of lilac bursting into bloom like no other April had ever seen.

images-10Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love. Walt Whitman

I’d wait in the taxi line, because that’s what you do, so one could take me to my favorite hotel, The Hay Adams, images-8 who greet me like family. Spent many weekends there with my last boyfriend, running around the National Mall in the morning…always stopping at the Vietnam Wall to pray. The hotel itself basks in history built on the site once the homes of Henry Adams, grandson of John Quincy…great grandson of John, and John Hay, Lincoln’s noble secretary and Teddy’s Secretary of State.

After breakfast, I’d go to the Smithsonian’s American History Museum to see Daniel Webster’s desk, Henry Clay’s straw hat 269and The Philadelphia, a ship belonging to Benedict Arnold before he became a spy for the British.

There’s the First Ladies Exhibition where I can glimpse all of Jackie’s jewelry Jack gave her when they ruled 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. You can even buy replicas in the gift shop. images-2 I’d feel a little like her in my sleeveless dress, a images light cardigan tossed over my shoulders hardly making a sound in my heels.

En route to Fords Theater to dream a little more of Mr. Lincoln, I’ll stop at Old Ebitts raw fish bar…oysters, clams…shrimp all on cool ice.

“Would you like some Chardonnay with that madam?”  images-7

“Yes, yes I certainly would…thank you, and please…call me Susannah.”

After Fords I’ll head back to the hotel to gather my things before taking the Acela home with the Washington Post, snacks the hotel made me and memories to keep me warm.

If I had money.



Posted in Beauty, Fashion, History, humor, money, New York City, shopping, women | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments

The Basset And The Baby

Oh my!

There’s trouble in Virginia City that looks an awful lot like Brooklyn.

Carmela and her family have houseguests…their son, along with his wife and 6-month old baby girl are visiting from Holland.

Sounds sweet, I know, but what nobody counted on was one jealous basset hound.

If Carmela isn’t careful, she’ll be sent to a kennel for the duration of their stay. Of course I’d show up in a stretch limo to spring her, but hopefully it won’t be necessary.

After knocking on the door, I was surprised she wasn’t waiting, wiggling in the foyer. The chef, who last week scolded me for bringing bread, “Dun’t you know, I bake bread? I am the chef.” (it only took 8 baguettes for him to tell me)…let me in wearing a very grim expression.

Carmela, who tried to smack the baby, was locked in the downstairs kitchen. Her father came running down the stairs (how do you say fatootsed in Spanish) to tell me she’s in the doghouse, his apparent upset translating in 15 languages.  images

We went to get her from the kitchen where she was facing the wall…out of rage more than remorse, never being so severely punished before.

She came to me with a look like…thank God you’re here. There’s a big toy upstairs they won’t let me play with. I don’t get it…plus it smells.

Suddenly who makes an appearance but the baby, who I hate to say, is probably the strangest looking baby I’ve ever seen…she’s cross-eyed like Clarence the lion with corkscrew curls that Gerber won’t be using anytime soon on their applesauce jars.

No wonder Carmela wanted to shove her under the couch.

When I pretended to be charmed…coochie-coochie-coo…if looks could kill.

“You too Susannah?”

We then took our much needed walk to everyone’s relief.

When we got to the promenade, I sat Carm down for a good heart-to heart. Of course it involved quite a few cookies, but this called for extreme measures.

“Carmela, she’s just a baby…you need to leave her alone, or else.”

“But what’s her problem. I’m almost her size…why won’t she play?”

“First of all, you make three of her, if you don’t mind me saying, and she’s a baby, not a stuffed cat, which by the way…I saw how you ripped its face off. What the hell was that about?”

“They don’t make-em like they used to.”

“If you don’t stop misbehaving, they’re going to send you away.”

“So I’ll come live with you.”

“I’m not sure they’d go for that since I’ve often offered to take you. In spite of everything, they love you, but it’s their granddaughter for godssake.”

“And what am I, chopped liver?”

I’m warning you Tubes…get it together. Look, how bout if I come twice this week and next, while they’re here. Would that make you feel better?”

“Do ya know what would make me feel better? Got anymore a’ those Parmesan numbers….the round ones with the holes in the middle?”

So after Carmela gained six more pounds, we went back to the house where tea was being served. They let me bring her into the parlor where we sat sipping on the floor. The baby was very excited to see her, so I know, there’s a possibility of a ceasefire. get-attachment-29

Carmela, ignoring her whispered, “Okay, I’ll behave, but she still smells.”





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Faith In Your Art

Art props you up if you remain faithful to it, giving it the attention required.

Stephen King says…you must write and read every day, no exceptions.

I agree, but my faith is shaky judging myself harshly not waiting for anyone else to do it.

Why must I be my own censor, a question I ask myself every time I sit down to write. Phrases like…who cares…nobody will read this…you’re not a pro, dance in my head…oh God…if I stabbed myself with a cleaver it would hurt less.

What makes a writer successful? I’m swaying towards sales though the love of it should trump that, and I do love to write the only thing I’m sure of.

Can I be satisfied being obscure? I really only have ten loyal readers on my blog, not exactly a massive following. Often I have to ask my friends covertly to read it since it seems even they’re bored.

I guess what I’m getting at is…it might be time to take athingirl down, still a nebulous thought but one I keep having.

Blame it on health issues robbing me of so much I choose not to speak of including self-worth, but things in my life feel very hopeless.

I’m venting on the page…not looking for encouragement or sympathy so please don’t reward me with any.

In 12 Step they’d call it, forcing a solution, so maybe that’s what I’m doing…but all does not feel well on the Ponderosa.


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Reaping What You Know

Whenever I see anyone cry, I stop. I can’t help it. A person in that much apparent distress deserves a kind word.

Today was a hard one for me. It began being the twenty-first anniversary of my friend Bill’s passing which is what I blamed my melancholia on.

But there was another source of sadness to salt the mix…someone I love is taking their love away and there’s very little I can do about it.

Since my hearing loss, I’ve grown used to losing friends, but this hurts much more than the others because it’s been gradual, and sadly I can see it coming to its final end.

Between the two, I couldn’t shake my gloom so I thought of the only being on the planet who could make me smile.

Carmela the basset hound.

So I dressed in 10 layers and took off to Brooklyn.

There’s always the initial instant when she first sees me that even my broken heart has no say in, involuntarily lifting by its wounded ventricles.

And even though she licked my face and sat on my lap like Jerry Mahoney, I still left sad.

On the train coming home I sat very still never feeling more alone, when three women got on at 14th Street. Two fat African Americans in Addidas sweatsuits, and one tiny Latino lady with deep crevasses beneath her eyes.

She looked like an old, retired owl with shopping bags.

One black woman was singing with her iPod moving her arms like a Pointer Sister, the other, reading Valley of the Dolls. Yes, even in my despair I noticed.

When I got up the car was packed pushing me near the singing woman inspiring me to say quite genuinely,”It’s nice to be so happy.”

“I try my best,” she said, and don’t ask me why, but the tears I held back all day gushed moving all three women to comfort me.

The one reading put her hand on my shoulder while the woman singing said, “Don’t cry honey…please don’t cry.”

But who really got me was the wise old owl who said what I always say almost verbatim to whomever I encounter weeping…

“It will be alright…I promise…because all things pass.”

When I got off the train I turned, and there they were like angels without wings waving sweetly from the window.

I wasn’t any less sad, but knew I’d be alright leaning on the kindness of strangers.


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Things I Remember About Bill Hicks

images The Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole was his favorite book and the first gift he ever gave me.

Reservoir Dogs along with Don’t Look Now, A Face In The Crowd and Hud favorite movies.

Sadly, he never got to see Pulp Fiction, another Quentin Tarentino film he would have LOVED.

He cried after seeing Gary Sinise and John Malcovich in Steinbeck’s Mice and Men when Lennie accidentally kills the puppy, poking fun at himself the whole time.

John Woo, the Hong Kong film director, was someone he revered and couldn’t get enough of imitating his martial arts choreography as he walked down the street.

He loved San Francisco, London, Austin and New York.

He was a good friend.

Art dazzled him, like when he walked into the American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum for the first time, thanking me for taking him there.

He spoke lovingly of his mother and liked telling you she bought him his new black raincoat he wore unbelted because it was just a tad too tight across the chest.

He’d affectionately make fun of his dad who, whenever Bill went home, would try to get him to watch Dances With Wolves one more time.

Writing was something he did every day, even if it was only on a scrap of yellow notebook paper he’d shove into his Websters Dictionary once telling me he used as a pillow.

I believed him.

Charlie Chaplin, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Elvis were icons. It’s where his bit, Scarves and  Water sired from.

He had a white muslin pullover he called his Jakarta shirt and a pair of moccasins rivaling his trusty cowboy boots belying his bad-boy image.

The first time I saw him without his usual button-down and leather jacket he said, “So how da’ like the casual Bill?”

I like him very much, I told him.

He took up yoga when he gave up drinking, an avid AA member when he died, proud of the coins his sobriety earned.

Hotdogs, potato salad, Dunkin Donuts and any kind of fish, sushi in particular, were his fare of preference.

Bill loved getting gifts and giving them as well. He bought me jars of the vanilla body cream I wore and I him, bars of sandalwood soap our smells clashing with distinction.

He played a moody guitar he’d take with him on the road composing songs he’d send to his pal Kevin Booth in Austin he’d eventually record (check out Arizona Bay).

He always had a book making fun of friends in LA, he coined HELL-A, for not reading.

Despite his proffered gravitas, he laughed at everything, especially himself.

He was polite, mean on a rare occasion and terribly romantic.

There was never a time I’d travel to see him when there wasn’t a rose by my side of the bed…all the vases packed in tissue in a box under my sink.

When they told him he only had a few months left he doubled that by sheer will.

Bill Hicks died at his parent’s home in Little Rock, Arkansas 21 years ago today.

He was 32…buried in the family plot in Leaksville Mississippi.

Miss ya Willie.

Love, Susannah

Posted in comedy, food, friendship, Health, History, humor, Love, Uncategorized, Women and men, writing | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

I Want To Hold Your Hand

images-1 I’ve had some issues lately quite humbling I won’t go into at this time, but my sense of observation has never been keener.

There was a pretty, 40ish looking lady walking hand in hand with her daughter. What caught my eye was the kid’s age…12 or 13.

Normally a child about to blossom from bloomers into a thong wants nothing to do with her mom who overnight becomes the enemy…yet there they were happy as can be chatting like girlfriends.

Made me reach back to my own preteens having no recollection of such public affection. Actually what I do remember is always walking behind my mom to catch her in case she fell from one too many highballs, if you get my meaning.

12 Step teaches you to look back but not stare at your past so it ceases to rob the present, a noble lesson to learn.

I then saw a couple in their 80s hand holding as they tooled down Fifth, gazing into windows, whispering to one other. How intimate they seemed their white hair glistening…two lofty lights luminous on the avenue. images

There’s also a girl at Panera whose boyfriend walks her to work…by the hand. They are both short and round reminding me of two honey buns baked together. My heart opens when I see them so young and clearly in love just by looking at their hands.

I pondered all this hand holding business thinking how personal it is…your hands conducting so much in life…to link them with another set is truly special.

After relating this story to my friend Joanne who said, “Don’t you remember we were all sittin around drinking and one of us asked…what was our favorite thing to do with a man…I said kissing, Camille said, eating before dinner…and you said…

there’s nothing like holding hands.”

Hmm, I forgot, but it certainly explained why my heart swelled with such longing.  images-3



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Latest Hollywood Smut

Evidently, Bobby Brown gave Bobbi Kristina’s boyfriend, Nick Gordon, permission to see her again, providing he agrees to certain terms.

He had banned him from her bedside two weeks ago as she continues to lie in a Georgia Hospital hooked up to machinery Bobby still refuses to turn off.

As far as I’m concerned, at a time like this, everyone’s heart should be open much wider than usual…in other words…fuck those terms and the legal team they rode in on.

Those loyal Kardashians have decided to abandon their step-father, Bruce Jenner, since his recent announcement of gender swapping. What’s the matter girls, afraid she’ll be too much competition in her La Perla undies and Prada heels? Can’t we throw a net over them once and for all? To put it mildly, the Kardashians collectively make me sick.

And did Taye Diggs really say to his wife Idina Menzel, we’re so rich, divorce is easy?

Kind of makes you happy to be broke and obscure since there seems to be more integrity in it.

Mustn’t overlook the Oscars, not with some of those feverish fashion statements like J-Lo who looked as if she was frying eggs sunny side up,  images-1and how bout Lady Gaga’s rubber gloves…had she been doing dishes or giving someone a rectal exam? images

What happened to true Hollywood glamor as in Audrey,tumblr_n1s4hyEaYi1qbilh4o1_1280


 Grace images Vivian images-1 images-3 and Liz. Their cleavage had some class not to mention authenticity. Do plastic surgeons get together to watch the results? And I don’t mean who wins either.

I myself miss Bob Hope as Master of Ceremonies…images-4and the age I was, allowed to stay up to at least see who won Best Supporting Actress…didn’t Lassie win one year?  images-5 Well, she should have…woof.



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Baby It’s Cold Outside

I’m here wrapped in blankets perusing Google Images. I went from food to cats to Chanel and ended up at babies.

How cute are they.

images-5 I’d take a little off the back if I were you.

images-2 I know…I’m gonna pull the cat’s tail till it comes out.

images-4 In case you’re interested…this cereal blows.

images-6 You sure know who your friends are.

images-14 Shit, you need teeth.

images-7 I’m the smelliest not to mention, shortest guy on the green.

images-8 This is so humiliating.

images-9 I don’t know how to tell him I’m Episcopalian.

images-13 Hi Ma…just wanted you to know the house is on fire.

images Don’t you love Carolina Herrera?

images-18 This might feel a little cold.

images-16OW…cut it out.

images-10 Did you guess, I’m French.

images-15 Would you shut-up already.

images-11 Don’t tell mom I used your litter box, okay?

images-3 Fuck solid food.

images-1 I’m from Iceland.

images-12 You’d think they’d give us a fucking blanket.

BabiesDogsAmericanBulldogTrinityIsaiahan This is Lucky, my babysitter.

images-17 Aren’t you the guy nobody likes anymore?

Nothing like a little life to make you appreciate your own.



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Notes From The Carlyle February 2015

images-1 What possessed me to go to Bemelmans on Valentines Day shall remain an eternal mystery.

I try not to let this trumped up Hallmark holiday affect me, but who am I kidding making a beeline to my favorite bar.

As I enter, it feels like a dream sequence, a very unfortunate one with couples draped across each other like bear rugs in every corner of the room. I can’t even find a seat.

Finally one opens at the bar wedging me between a fat woman with her girlfriend and a loud, happy duo wearing matching red vests and bandannas offering to buy me a drink.

“Yes, please,” I say, deciding I deserve one being the only drip without a date.

The barmaid smiles sadly as she pours me a silo of Merlot.

Do I appear that pathetic? Is there toilet paper stuck to my high heel?

There is so much cooing and canoodling going on I think I’ll die of envy. It’s like an outbreak of a germ, one I suddenly yearn to catch.

Poor, poor loveless Susannah…may I have another?

There’s nothing like a vat of wine and 30 or so people about to get laid for you to feel royally sorry for yourself.

“Whats’ a matter honey?” asks the dyke to my left. “Didn’t ya have anybody you could call to come join ya?”

Before I could answer this woman in a flannel work shirt, who comes swanning in the door but none other than Camille images who I haven’t spoken to in almost a year…ALONE.

Our eyes lock causing the whole room to freeze before she rushes over like her Chanel is on fire.

“Funny meeting you here,” she says, dropping her fur on the floor. “I’ve missed you.”

“And I’ll just bet she missed ya too,” chirps the dyke with a wink.

“Camille took one look at her before saying, “Who the fuck is that? Tell me you didn’t go over to the other side Susannah?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, she’s just assuming we’re, you know….somewhat acquainted.”

I can’t help noticing how chesty Camille looks, and her hair, once red, is now platinum blonde. To be quite truthful, she looks great…a cross between a Siberian Husky and Miss February.

“Camille,” I whisper staring at the contents of her pullover, “did you get…you know?”

“For Christmas, aren’t they nice…and did I get a deal,” she coos as if she bought boots at a Saks sale.

“Yeah, they look amazing under that sweater, like lava lamps…but you said you’d never stoop so low…”

“Forget what I said…it’s the new me…hot, built and ready.”

“But you were always ready.”

“Yeah, but not like this baby.”

This causes Work-shirt to flip around like a tortilla. Coming in real close she says to Camille, “It’s a pity we’re both with someone, ain’t it?”

“Camille…let it go.”

Uh-oh. The look on her face tells me everything. One can say Camille’s not a lesbian lover in any sense of the word.

“Look here Laverne,” she says in her best Eve Arden voice, “you can just get that little notion out of that big head of yours…even if I did lean the other way, believe me…we’d have no future.”


I can’t help feeling sorry for Work-shirt who is speechless, but that’s not the case with her girlfriend who snaps,”Don’t kid yourself sweetie, it’s the gin talkin…even with that fake rack a’ yours, you’re just not her type.”

In true fashion, Camille and I begin to laugh. I mean, I couldn’t write this, especially when the barmaid wiggles over, her can the size of the moon, as my mother would say, and says with a chuckle, “A little more wine for you two ladies?”

“Let’s go to the Mark,” Camille said, “we have lots of catching up to do.”

“Yes we do, and let me say…I’ve missed you too.”

Wasn’t such a bad Valentines Day after all, was it?




Posted in Beauty, Fashion, friendship, humor, New York City, sex, women, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments

May I Have A Word With You?

images-4Every once in a while a word flies out of my mouth when I wonder, where the hell did that come from.

I found myself telling a friend he had a lot of gravitas. He gave me a funny look that suggested surprise, or what the fuck does that mean?

I’m leaning towards the latter, not because he isn’t sharp, but it’s an uncommon noun meaning…dignity, seriousness, or solemnity of manner….gravity, authority…sobriety with distinguished formality…

all of which he suffers from.

Its opposite being frivolity, lightheartedness, flippancy and fun a feature or two (or three) he lacks.

I could certainly claim this word if you’d discount my Lucy tendencies since it doesn’t share the stage with scatterbrain, loopy, dippy and daft. Airy, zany, quirky and just a tad off.

Having gravitas however can be viewed as a compliment since it also suggests leadership, guidance and good-orderly direction. Focus, wisdom, intelligence and soundness of mind.

One can translate this of course as dull, boring, overbearing and flat…tedious, monotonous and one helluva pain in the ass to anyone it applies to.

We all know people like that with feet almost too firmly on the ground their humor crushed by the weight.

My friend, for instance, is a well-read, slightly pompous writer I try to make laugh on a regular basis, a true challenge since I’m rarely successful gravitas coming between his distinguished formality and my chronic silliness.

What can a screwball do who can’t help if she thinks everything is slightly funny, a lifeboat of sorts keeping her afloat.

But all is not lost…he inspired this essay after all and would be more than a little mortified if he knew.


SB     images-2 Let’s face it, words simply rock.

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