Finally Tuned Friendship

Age is the true educator.

My whole life I’ve viewed everything in black and white…all or nothing…this way or that way with wiggle room, leeway, latitude, flexibility having no role in my life.

Relationships, hitting a wall, were severed rather than saved.

Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water alas, came so much later.

I have a lovely friend I’ve known twenty-five years.  We met, of all places, in the 92nd Street Y sauna.  We were then both bouncy brunettes, fresh from yoga class cleansing our pores from all impurities.

We’d sit, wrapped in towels, modest compared to our older brethren letting it all sag and hang out. We’d laugh and say, “And to think I’m worried about a little back fat.”

After many shvitzes together, we started walking around the park, her legs the length of linguine, always in the lead.

I liked her so.  Such a nice woman…a year younger than me married to a workaholic with one son she’s totally devoted to.

She lived in a stellar building across from my church with multiple doormen and valet parking.

She was also a vegan before it was fashionable teaching me all about juicing and eating raw.

She loved I was a model, telling everyone I was her friend…but then the wheels came off the juicer.

Because her husband was so successful, she fell into a much higher tax bracket than me.  I was never one of those models who made money.  Yes, I scored great jobs living reasonably well, but my idea of wealth and a nice Jewish girl’s from Plainfield, New Jersey was much different.

She lived for bulk while I, only what was needed.  I’m still that way paring down all needs like a Sherpa in a cave.

We locked horns when I brought her flowers for her birthday.  She was beside herself, someone as impoverished as me without a two-car garage would spend 15 bucks on roses I could ill afford.

I was floored when she said, “Please come get them…maybe they’ll take them back.”

Quirky, eccentric, odd…yes, my pal from the sauna was brandishing some interesting colors.

So what does Miss Black and White do?  I toss that baby out with those fucking roses.

Three years go by…no contact missing her terribly.  I even blew off the Y afraid she’d be rude to me, and shattering easily, couldn’t take the risk.

Finally, we met on the street, happy to see one another.

I was cautious like a cat, but realizing I want to rekindle this.  I really do miss my friend.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is…you can customize a friendship.  It doesn’t have to be what you expected it to be.  It can come with threads and an in-seam that doesn’t quite line up still loving the feel of the fabric.

We now email more than talk.  I make her laugh while she still coos over the miracles of spinach.

We don’t sit and shvitz in the sauna anymore, but enjoy one another from afar giving the other room to be just who she is.

And you know what?

It’s really okay.



Posted in friendship, Health, Home, humor, New York City, women | Tagged , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Don’t You Own A Mirror?

I sat next to a woman who, when she got up, had on bright fuchsia undies beneath white, nylon exercise pants.  My panty-line alarm went off to the point of insanity since everyone on the bus starred at her rather ample ass as she got off.  And I mean everybody.  You couldn’t help it, like following the bouncing ball.

Who possibly could find this attractive.

I mentioned it to my pal Camille when we met for drinks at the St. Regis.

“She was prowling for a date obviously,” Camille said while applying more gloss she did not need.

“You do know how much I hate all that grease on your lips.  It looks as if you’ve been eating pork chops.”

“You need more after 5 o’clock, how else will men know they want to kiss you.”

“Even if they dared, they’d side right off your face.”

“I didn’t hear that.  And I’ll bet the girl with the pastel butt would agree with me. You just don’t try to get picked-up anymore Susannah, that’s your problem.”

“First of all, the man who finds a pink ass attractive is not the man I want to meet.  Next he’ll assume my bra lights up, if  I actually wore one.”

“That could be fun.”


“What’s happened to you Susannah.  Your Connecticut is showing again and it’s so boring.”

“Hey, I don’t see you prancing around with a panty-line the width of a tire, so shut-up.”

“It’s just not my style, however I get it.  You need to be bold to get noticed nowadays.  There are too many women to choose from.  They’re becoming like sling-backs in the spring. ”

“Camille, no more wine for you, do you hear me?”

This conversation depressed me.  Between the indelible image of a rear the size of a birthday cake and Camille’s gloss that somehow got all over my wineglass, I wanted to escape.  Camille’s no spring chicken and neither was that woman wiggling off the M13, so there’s something desperate about their efforts even if they could be perceived as noble.

I don’t want a thong that talks.  I don’t want lips that could lubricate Japan either.  You know what I want?  A bath, a book, and a BLT without the B.   How can it be a BLT without bacon you’re wondering?  Well, it originally would have it, but I’m after the grease, not the pork, that sinks lavishly into the bread, a little like Camille’s gloss.

UGH, why did I say that?  Now I’ll have to switch to a PBJ (peanut butter and jelly).


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A Word Please

images-1 Ken – a noun meaning – one’s range of knowledge or sight; awareness, perception, vision, understanding…being within one’s grasp. Comprehension, realization, appreciation, consciousness – to put it simply – it’s what you know.

It’s a word you don’t hear much, but when you do your ears swing open like stadium doors since three little letters say so much.  “What you mean is beyond my ken, can you simplify it for me?”

Ken is considered what is known as a fossil word meaning, an artifact from a different era not used very often yet still has its place of honor in the English language in what’s called, isolated usage.

In other words – we don’t use it anymore.   Here are a few compiled by Mark Nicol. 

Ado: bother over unimportant details (“without further ado” or, more rarely, “much ado about nothing”)

Amok (or amuck): in an uncontrolled manner (“run amok”)



Batten:  a strip of wood used for clamping the boards of a door. strengthen or fasten (something) with batten (“batten down the hatches”)

Deserts: excellence or worth, or what is deserved or merited (“just deserts”)

Dint: force or power (“by (sheer) dint of”)

Dudgeon: indignation (“high dudgeon”)

Eke: accomplish or get with difficulty (“eke out”)

Fettle: state of health or fitness (“in fine fettle”)

Fro: away or back (“to and fro”)

Hale: sound or very healthy (“hale and hearty”)

Hither: near or adjacent, or to this place (“hither and yon”)

Immemorial: before memory or tradition (“time immemorial”)

Jetsam: what is cast overboard from a ship (“flotsam and jetsam”) — distinguished from flotsam, a word denoting what floats from the wreckage of a ship (that term is used)

Kith: friends, neighbors, or relatives (“kith and kin”)

Loggerhead: blockhead (“at loggerheads,” meaning blocked, or stalled, by stubbornness); also, a type of turtle.

Vim: energy; enthusiasm: (“in his youth he was full of vim and vigor”)

If you love words as much as I do, your ears must be flapping like Dumbo’s.  I learned to read the dictionary from Bill Hicks who, when bored, would peruse it like a great novel.

Where would we be without them.  It’s how we communicate, and whether they’re in style or not, the more we know, the sharper our ken will be.




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MRI Yi Yi Yi Yi

I’m insane under normal circumstances, let’s get that out of the way.  But put me in even a partial tube with a needle in my arm makes me eligible for the executive suite at the nearest asylum.  images

I’ve been claustrophobic my whole life having it worsen as I’ve gotten older.  My mother used to make me stay in my room with the door shut for hours at a time so this could be where it stems from, at least 75 shrinks seemed to think so.

I went to see a neurologist because of numbness in my feet.  Being a runner for so long it’s easy to assume that’s what it’s from however, the discomfort is becoming unbearable.   Enter Dr. Babe, I’ll call her since the ink on her medical license is still wet, and did she have a ball sticking pins all over me.


“Yes, and for the record I am not a voodoo doll.”

She’s Asian so it always sounds as if she’s yelling at me.  “WHY OPEN MRI… NOT AS GOOD. CLOSED BETTER.”

“Because I am extremely claustrophobic.”  She waved her hand in disapproval before saying, “I WILL DRUG YOU.”

“Like, out cold drug me or just a slight buzz?”

Later that day, her office calls to say they found an open MRI facility taking my insurance.

Goodie, I say, secretly hoping they’d forget all about me.

I’m very brave and efficient on the surface, but truth be told, I’m a wreck about most things.  I conceal rather than reveal until PANIC strolls in blowing my cover.

I make the appointment for Saturday asking for sedation knowing full well, without it, this isn’t happening.  No problem, they say, your doctor already okayed it.

My friend Ed is supposed to go with me but then gets a job.  Ed’s like my best girlfriend I can tell anything to, and that includes falling apart in public.  Now his wife, who works like a plow horse all week, kindly offers to come instead.  One, I feel bad she has to drive into the city on her day off, and two, how can I implode in front of Evelyn?  She’ll never let me see Ed again thinking I’m deranged and dangerous making me STUPIDLY decline her offer.  Yes, the crackpot has now entered the building.

When I arrive this little drug dealer with boobs that could become legendary snaps,

“Whes yo ez-cort?”

“Excuse me? Am I at a cotillion?”

“Ah can-not give you ana-thin with you not havin an ez-cort.”

“No one told me I needed an ez-cort or an escort.  Look, I live a block away.  I can sit here till I can walk a straight line.  How bout that?”

“How bout, ah dun’t zink zo.”  So PANIC has just pulled up to the curb.  I decide, hell…fuck it, I can do this.  It’s open.  It’s 45 minutes.  Yes, I’m gonna get this over with today.

“Yeah, sure ya are,” said PANIC toolin in the door.

A cheerful woman named Ursula, the width of a bank, conducting the procedure comes out to get me.

“I hear you’re a little nervous.”  0511-1009-2417-1749_Cartoon_of_a_Chubby_Black_Nurse_Holding_a_Giant_Syringe_clipart_image

“Who me? Well, maybe just a little.” PANIC, the sadistic shit, starts giggling.

“I thought we could have a test run.  You know, I’ll strap you in – give you a blindfold if you want.  Just so you can see how it is, because once I put the IV in and you want to get out,  I’ll have to do all over again if you want to go back in.”

“Well, I can betcha 5 bucks Urs, once she’s out there’s no way she’s goin back in.”

“Shut up PANIC.”

“Did you tell me to shut up?”

“No no, just talking to myself.”

So Ursula points to a navy gown that seats 6 saying, everything off from the waist up before arranging me like I’m in a coffin short of folding my hands.  The machine isn’t even halfway over my head before screaming, “Let me out…LET ME OUT.”

“I’ll just take that 5 bucks please.”

I jump up, run to put on my shirt and coat and am out of there so fast I should win something, like a toaster or tickets to a Yankee game.  I then go right to the French bistro next door ordering a double…I’ll take anything…when I hear,

“See, you did this backwards.  You shoulda come here first then went over there.  Haven’t I taught you anything?”

“Fuck you PANIC.”

To be continued.

A woozy SB




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Temper Temper

There’s a runner in the park I’d like to kill.  You usually see him trying to woo women by showing them around wearing American flag shorts.  It’s the only time I’ve ever wanted to burn the flag.

He likes to say things as he prances by like,  you’re in the wrong lane lady, or you’re going in the wrong direction.  I mean, who the fuck died and made him head of Central Park?

There’s a great expression in 12 Step – Don’t pick up the rope…meaning…do not engage because if you do the first thing going south is your peace so it better be worth the confrontation.

This man has been saying things to me for a very long time so yes,  I finally picked up that rope twirling it like Buffalo Bill, and just like the Big Book says, my peace made skid marks possibly to Poughkeepsie.


Yes, my retort was very original alright, but what came to me later was how angry I was.  I could have grabbed him by his scrawny neck no problem, throwing him into the bushes – a talent inherited from my mother who could have scared King Kong.

It’s 6:45 in the morning and there is no right or wrong way.  The attendance is sparse at best since it’s still so damned cold, the seasonal joggers in their brand new running clothes some still sporting tags (another essay) have yet to make an appearance.

To think you have the right to direct someone is awfully arrogant, I don’t care if you are wearing the original 13 colonies across your ass.

My ire was so up smoke may have been billowing from my ears.

I turned and said, “Hey, asshole…if you harass me one more time, I’ll report you to the Park Police.”

Typical of all swarmy men, he ran away.

Like a boxer whose fists are considered weapons, my anger needs to be monitored and kept under wraps.

Lucky for him I’m aware of that or that flag would be at half mast…images-1 permanently.




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Anne Lamott (Author) Writes Down Every Single Thing She Knows, As of Today

Susannah Bianchi:

I love Anne Lamott and was so thrilled Elle Knowles, a writer I follow, reblogged her essay from Salon originally on Kindness Blog.  Anne is such a light for me quieting my heart, adding hope while making me laugh. I highly recommend anything Anne Lamott pens. Enjoy.  Susannah

Originally posted on Kindness Blog:

61st birthdayI am going to be 61 years old in 48 hours. Wow. I thought i was only forty-seven, but looking over the paperwork, I see that I was born in 1954.

My inside self does not have an age, although can’t help mentioning as an aside that it might have been useful had I not followed the Skin Care rules of the sixties, ie to get as much sun as possible, while slathered in baby oil. (My sober friend Paul O said, at eighty, that he felt like a young man who had something wrong with him.).

Anyway, I thought I might take the opportunity to write down every single thing I know, as of today.

1. All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It has been a very bad match for those of…

View original 1,418 more words

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images-96 I tried coming up with a clever, pithy title, but when all was said and done…SEX simply said it all.

I miss it, like a long, lost friend.

I’ve often said, if I never had sex again, I’ve still had more than anyone else I know, short of my friend Camille who holds the heavyweight title.

That said, it still doesn’t make up missing it so.

I always had a man in my life even if he was just a part-timer to call to cuddle up with. Being my mother’s daughter, I needed the closeness…the release, the feel of another to ignite that passion inherited for better or worse.

It’s so remote now, vaguely remembered as if it was experienced by someone else.

I ask myself, will I ever know its colors again?

I’ve loved a lot in my life quite often not having it returned. But did that stop me?

Unrequited love deserves the Purple Heart since mine forever mourns when it wasn’t embraced.

When you reach middle age, you can’t fuck like an alley cat anymore…mentally or physically.

Where before you could reap so much from a casual roll-in-the-hay, now it’s out of the question, your needs and tastes, tolerance and overall forbearance just not permitting it.

And we must include the body too tender to let just anyone touch its hills and valleys once so willing to be stroked and kissed for the mere thrill of it all (It feels as if I’m resurrecting Jacqueline Susann from the dead).

I guess what I’m really wondering…will I never be held again, or ravished or told…you are so, so beautiful? (and one doesn’t have to be a conventional beauty as long as he thinks so)

To dress for a man you can’t wait to see…

Wait impatiently for the bell to ring, your heart a flutter when he’s finally here.

Feel that throb in your underbelly when he’s knocking on the door.

Makes me wonder about my mother, the biggest femme fatale I ever knew living for that lusty exchange way past her 60th year like a lioness dressing her prey.

Did she too finally hang up her passion like a retired number?

I so wish I had the chance to ask her.





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Fashion Or A Figment Of Your Imagination

I was tooling down the avenue early this morning when a woman stopped to say how chic I looked. Chic?  I had on my tight black pants that make me look like a matador,  an ancient L.L. Bean turtleneck under a hoodie with my beat-up Barbour jacket that I’m willing to the Smithsonian.  We mustn’t forget those festive pink running shoes bought on sale.

I’m like one big – don’t let this happen to you.

Her remark got me thinking, how different my fashion needs are compared to just a few years ago.  So happy to say I no longer have Prada disease.  In other words, you won’t see me drooling in front of their window salivating over the handbags.  I went back to my trusty Kate Spade Phil the shoemaker keeps patching threatening to put it out of its misery for both our sake.

I no longer have the need to go into debt so you think I’m drowning in wealth either.   I now prefer having signature pieces like my Barbour for instance.  It needs refurbishing yet again, but all its holes and rips make it mine.  They think I’m a little looney spending money annually on repairs. Get a new one, they always say, but they don’t make them as well as they did.  Before they were 10 ply, rugged and warm – now they’re about a 3, the quality taking a serious dip only someone with an old one would realize.

In my life before this when I kept company with a fashion conscious drunken spendthrift, my closets bulged.  Now they look anemic with empty hangers and spaces you could sit in.  Big bags went to charity, some resale.  There’s something Franciscan about having only jeans, leggins and one pair of good black pants even if they do look as if they come with a bull.

I still have quite a few shoes my reasoning being they are all flats in good shape, thanks to Phil who treats them like babies.  I did sell all my expensive heels except for two pair since I no longer need to rival one of the Knicks.

Less is more, even in the pajama, sleepwear department.  I love PJs but pared those down too.  My armoire looks as if it lost thirty pounds. And I ask you honestly, unless you’re seducing someone on the hour, do you really need 500 thongs?

My ex, who believes more is more would immediately offer to take me shopping even though we hardly speak if he knew my drawers were half empty.  Come on Susannah, how bout a roll in the hay and a little commerce for old times sake.

Chic?  Could be my attitude more than attire since owning less has put a bit more spring in my step, if the fucker ever gets here and stays more than a day.

I’m really starting to hate her, that Spring.




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Live From The Number 6

images After getting on the train at 14th Street, I slide in next to a very tall, spiffy looking guy playing a game on his iPhone.  He even has diamonds in his ears the size of quarters.

“We’re both skinny,” I say, since it was a narrow 2-seater only the lean could comfortably occupy.

He smiles before sneezing three times in a row.  I had been to Bed Bath & Beyond buying their economy size individual Kleenex packages to keep in my handbag.  After watching this elegant man blow it (no pun intended) by using his sleeve, I open the bag to give him one.

He waves me away, probably a little embarrassed at what he did, but I say, “No come on, take one.  Look, I have a 6-pack.  Pretend it’s beer.  Now if I offered you a Tall Boy you’d take one a those, right?”

He laughs shoving it in his jacket pocket.

A kid standing in front of us suddenly starts sneezing like he was attacked by a pepper mill.  Before I could even flinch, the guy pulls out his little Kleenex special, opens it and offers one to the kid who then blows his nose like a stuffed tuba.

Kindness is a little like ink.  You spill some, and it makes a big impression on whatever it spills on.


Posted in Gratitude, humor, kids, New York City | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments

Feeling Less Because Of Another

images I try very hard being positive avoiding self-pity like the plague, but sometimes when you’re not looking, you get hit by a sniper on the roof.

I suffer from hearing loss, the biggest challenge I’ve ever had.

To say it’s changed my life puts it mildly.  Even on Sunday when I longed to go to church to see the lilies bursting on the altar and hear the French horns I didn’t because it sounds like nails across a blackboard, and not average nails either…Kim Kardashian nails, or a cheetah’s.

I’ve handled this admirably, accepting it, knowing things could be worse.  Every time I fall into poor me mode, I’ll see a kid in a wheelchair or an adult who can’t see.

That said.

I was working with someone I’ve known forever.  He hails himself a Christian, but might be one of the meanest men ever to cross my path, but who knew until my hearing went south something he can’t seem to tolerate.  There’s clearly a screw missing I so wish he’d locate so he doesn’t hurt me or anyone else again, since it wasn’t the first time.

The last incident upset me so much, I walked in bitter cold to a subway stop a mile away so no one would see me cry.

This time he made fun of me in front of others as if hearing loss is something to laugh at.

It’s not, nor is it contagious.  Compassion from another especially a peer is not something out of the question to expect or look for, and you have to wonder how someone can be so heartless.

We all have mountains to climb, especially this fellow who also has health issues involving his legs.  Ever since confiding in me a few years ago, I’ll always offer him my seat knowing it pains him to stand.

That’s the part I’ll never understand.

I will continue to give him my seat and hope he finds that lost screw soon.  If not, he should without further ado, turn in his bible.




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