Best Story of the Week…November 16

I’m strolling down Park behind a very voluptuous dog walker in her 20s, Rubenesque, if you will, with a chassis, as my dad would have said, stopping traffic.

But what got my attention was her relationship with the sheepdog she was walking that couldn’t take his eyes off of her. Not that I blamed him, she being so beautiful, like a piece of fruit that dropped from the vine.

They made quite a couple, she with bright pink lips while he had barrettes to keep the fur out of his eyes wrapped in a Burberry sweater. One can only wonder who the owner was. I knew right away she wasn’t, not with a Biscuits and Bath T-shirt peeking from her canary yellow parka.

That’s the Upper East Side’s Cartier of dog-sitting, with a logo that says…

The Most Fun Your Dog Can Have Without You.

To say they’re popular is an understatement. Biscuits and Bath are big business in these parts.

Not one to saunter, passing her I said, “You seem to really like your job.”

She bent down, brandishing enough cleavage to make her Playmate of the whole Year,  kissing the sheepdog smack on the lips and said, “I so loove my job.”

It was as if they were dating.

Imagine Brigitte Bardot in sweats with a leash, and a dog with a Beatle haircut and a bone…



images  OOPS







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Mudslinging, a Messy Word

images I’m so tired of all the mudslinging, a noun meaning, the use of insults and accusations, especially unjust ones, with the aim of damaging the reputation of another.

The term muckraker comes to mind, a word Theodore Roosevelt coined in a speech he gave in 1906, describing journalists who dug up dirt to sell newspapers.

To say we’re presently surrounded by muckrakers would be an understatement.

I’m tired of the self-righteous condemning and judging, ruining and wrecking as if they were holier-than-thou, which brings me to the word…flaw…a fault, failing or weakness in a person’s stature.

A defect, deficiency…a chink in someone’s armor…a crack in character casting doubt tainting one’s integrity…a stigma, black mark or moral blemish.

For the record, we’re all flawed. I want to meet the perfect soul claiming otherwise. Even Saints are described as sinners, who just kept on trying.

I would LOVE to look into some of the closets of those hurling stones. Trust me, everyone has something they’d prefer to keep under wraps.


To decide someone who erred can’t exhibit remorse, making an attempt to rebuild from their admitted mistakes, really makes me angry, regardless of who it is.

The person who’s sorry for what they’ve done without denial, cloaked in humiliation and shame, a sentence in itself, deserves another chance.

Like I said, we’re all flawed, harboring missteps along the way that were just not caught…yet.

The truth, that little imp, always manages to come out, so as you’re slinging that mud as if you were Babe Ruth, I’d take pause if I were you.  images





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Smug as a Bug in a Rug

I marvel at the very rich, especially the women who have done absolutely nothing to become that way, except lassoing a smart husband like a calf at a rodeo, taking them along for the ride.

They preen and prance up Park Avenue like they’ve made such a difference in the world, as if launching a decorator deserves the Noble Peace Prize.

My favorite trait of theirs is their snootiness. How they look down at women who actually have to work for a living.

There’s one in particular I’d like to choke with her Tiffany choker. She’s had two wealthy husbands. One a rake with the worst toupee, who rumor has it, had a heart attack during sex with a flight attendant who lets just say, took him to new heights.

Then she married another flush fellow who also bit the dust during a golf game. What is it with these men? Stop eating red meat, will ya?

But of course I’m digressing since, now they could eat Elsie and it wouldn’t much matter, now would it?

Wanda widow, I’ll call her, has done zip on her own and does nothing but shop, lunch and look down at the world, including me.

“So wasn’t that you I saw skirting across the courtroom on Law and Order?”

For the record, I’m never ashamed of anything I do to pay the rent, since I too could have become a gold digger since God knows, I’ve had ample opportunities, but sleeping with a man for his cash flow was never something I was very good at. In other words, I don’t have a whory bone in my body, which is considered a shame every time I come up a little short.

I know what you’re thinking. At least you have integrity Susannah.

Yeah, yeah, I know, as I break open that can of tuna that was on sale, good till tomorrow.

Of course, the way society works is, you can be the nanny on Monday, and the lady-of-the-house Friday if your boobs are big enough, then you too can be a snoot with loot.

Isn’t that always the way?

Just makes you want to scream.  images



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Things People Say

I’m a huge lover of quotes, always tickled to repeat them like a passionate parrot.

And it’s not just the famous who coin them. I hear locals repeat pithy phrases all the time.

Take Frank, my super, whenever I say, I didn’t forget I owe you money, one of my own silly tags who, without missing a beat says, don’t worry…I know where ya live.

A former friend of mine, gleaned from his aunt would say…that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

Speaking of aunts, my mother’s eldest sister, Tillie, loved saying…tough toenails to you there Missy and the horse you rode in on.

And Ed quotes a Hungarian he worked with whenever we speak of those whining about money when they’re flush to the gills…yah, he complains with a loaf unda’ each om’.

How I love that.

And yes, we have the Kennedys, John who liked to say, let’s grab our balls and go, while Bobby chanted, kick’em in the balls Jack, kick’em in the balls. They were just a balls kinda’ family I guess, in more ways than one.

And James Garfield, our 20th president, his humor in play said—man cannot live by bread alone, he must have peanut butter.

Kurt Vonnegut, one of my heroes wrote, welcome to the monkey house, something I say often to describe my life, and my all time favorite—and so it goes.

Walt Whitman—be curious, not judgmental.

Hunter S. Thompson—ho ho.

Anne Lamott packing wisdom like a prophet declares, hope begins in the dark, while Indira Gandhi learning from her dad preached, you can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.

I forget who said, age doesn’t matter unless you’re a cheese, but I’m ordering T-shirts.

Then there’s Rodney Dangerfield chirping…I haven’t spoken to my wife in years, because I don’t want to interrupt her.

Yes, I’m a huge lover of quotes…   images

and so it goes.



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Mrs. Cookie Jar

A woman I often see in the park I’ll call Mrs. Ross, had to put Hannah, her beloved Bullmastiff, to sleep.

Hannah, who could have run for office, is who introduced us, way back when.

She’s in obvious mourning nowadays walking alone, loss written all over her stoic, elderly face. She had Hannah for 14 years saying, it was as if she lost one of her daughters.

She also said, the saddest part are the kids at the cancer center Hannah, a Wellness Dog,  visited weekly. It’s why I met her, after she found me weeping one day, all alone on a bench.

The kids thought Hannah, who also had cancer, caught it from them, so they needed to be gently convinced it was only a coincidence.

They made a shrine to her with pictures they drew of heaven, with God greeting her when she arrived. One little girl asked if she could call God to tell him, cheese biscuits were Hannah’s favorite.

I know, it breaks your heart, the earnest innocence of a 6 year-old who, alas, may not see her 7th birthday.

This morning I saw Hannah’s mistress by the 72nd Street Boat Pond, seated near the Hans Christian Anderson statue surrounded by a bunch of dogs in all shapes and sizes.

She’s known to carry a horde of cookies in her deep, coverall pockets, earning the name, Mrs. Cookie Jar, a fact all the dogs know.

Their owners kept their distance after she made it known she wasn’t up to being social quite yet, but the four-legged clearly knew, this didn’t apply to them as she fed them all like happy, hungry ducklings.

But here’s the part that left a lump in my throat. When her pockets were finally empty, they didn’t leave. They all sat beside her, as though it were a wake, knowing what she needed more than anything, was the comfort of Hannah’s friends.

We could take a lesson from this furry group, knowing when to show up quietly with grace, to simply remember a fallen comrade.   images-4

When I left to go home, my own heart so full, I too remembered Hannah, especially the day I made her big-hearted acquaintance crying on a bench with her noble, compassionate head warm in my lap.

I hope she’s somewhere right now, sitting in the sun, her work here all done, enjoying that eternal cheese biscuit.


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History Changed Me

When my friend David mentioned he drove to Galena, Illinois, it got me thinking of General U.S. Grant, who lived there for a time. Funny I should know that, but then again, not really.

I never read much as a kid since role models growing up were few, my mother reading racy, romantic paperbacks, my dad, Micky Spillane.

Austen at best, was a town in Texas for all they knew.

I’m not criticizing them, since who were their role models? My mom’s dad was a busy baker, her mother a serial complainer. My dad’s mother a Polish domestic working for the very rich, her husband a professional drunk. Who had the chance to read…so many drinks, so little time.

But I’m digressing.

It changed for me when I saw Ken Burns’s 1991 film on the American Civil War, igniting my reading muscle, launching a love for books that has never ceased.

The Killer Angels (1974), a favorite novel, was the book inspiring Burns to make his award winning film. Historical fiction of the Battle of Gettysburg seen through the eyes of its generals, captures July, 1863, making you feel as if you too are standing on Little Round Top about to make that bayonet charge.

From there I read Bruce Catton, and bios on Lincoln, Grant and Robert E. Lee. My friend Ed, way ahead of me, recommended The Battle Cry of Freedom (1988), Princeton Professor James McPherson’s epic of the war, gleaning him the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1989.

I even read all of Shelby Foote, quite an undertaking, because my appetite to know became insatiable.

I learned, the reason Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg giving what became his most famous speech (272 words) written on a napkin while riding the train, was because the fallen were so numerous, about 51,000 on both sides including 11 generals, they had to be buried where they fell.

It wasn’t the best time for our noble, tormented 16th President either, even though technically, we won the battle though at great cost, since he had just buried his son Willie not long before who died at 11, of typhoid fever.

Learning of a leader’s humanity increased mine realizing how responsible Lincoln had to feel while eulogizing all those boys.

He could have negotiated with the south anytime during those four long years, but his passion to protect the Union he knew our ancestors fought so valiantly for, got the better of him. Lincoln didn’t want to be the president known for its end after Senators Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, staved off civil war sacrificing their own political careers, eleven years earlier.

No wonder when he died on Good Friday, 1865, he looked incredibly older than his 56 years.

Mr. Grant, in Galena, unhappily working at a tannery, had yet to know what awaited him in the poignant wings of war.

I love knowing all of this, magnifying the many mysteries of patriotism.

History not only educates, it emboldens, defines and enlightens reminding us, who we are as Americans.

Perhaps ours isn’t as old as the Greeks or Romans, but it’s illustrious just the same.

As a friend of mine likes to say, American History fucking rocks.



Posted in alcohol, Books, grace, History, humanity, internet, media, men, Politics, readng, violence, war, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Yays or Nays for the NRA

The recent Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh has really affected me. I have mixed feelings about our gun laws to begin with, as many of us do.

Should we have the Right to Bear Arms, as our Second Amendment states, ratified on December 15, 1791?

I remember years ago, being on a date with the late comedian David Brenner. We were at a lovely West Side restaurant, long gone, called Nanny Rose that had black match books with pink roses on the front. David, who was at his most famous, always ordered a Chef’s Salad because so many fans approached him for autographs, his food would get cold.

That night when he got up to take off his blazer, I saw a gun shoved in the back of his pants. A little shocked, I asked, why on earth he was carrying one?

“I have two words for ya,” he said, without pause, “John Lennon.”

Lennon, in 1980, was killed at age 40, by Mark David Chapman who bought his Charter Arms .38 Special for $169 in Honolulu, Hawaii with a permit and no questions asked, hiding it in his luggage en route to New York City with the intent to shoot Mr. Lennon.

Imagine, to quote John.

That wasn’t the first time a gun popped into my life unexpectedly. I was 16 in high school, when a local cop’s son stole his father’s gun, then along with a friend, went around town in a convertible on a shooting spree.

Frederick Santoro, known as Ricky, was killed as he stood in line at a popular hamburger place in Bridgeport, Connecticut called Jeff’s Patio.

Ricky was just 17, about to go into the Navy.

He was my first death, and doubly disturbing because he was also my first kiss in the back of Maryjane Andrasick’s forest green Pontiac when I was 15.

I remember the wake at the Mullins and Redgate Funeral Home, the cheapest place there was. When I went to pay my respects, what I saw was a giant doll looking nothing like Ricky. His family, without means, inspired the local church to pick up the cost. I also recall giving money towards a headstone that I’m sure still rests at St. Michael’s Cemetery that says—

A Tribute From All My Friends.

But back to The Right to Bear Arms.

We live in very precarious times, there’s no question of this, so I understand the need to protect ourselves and those we love.

I do feel, it should be much harder than it is to obtain a gun with an extensive check on the person who wishes to purchase one. In other words, if you show up with cash at noon, you shouldn’t be walking out with a .38 at ten minutes past.

Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Red Lake, Pulse Nightclub, Charleston Church, Stoneman Douglas High School, and now Tree of Life Synagogue, battlefields all hallowed ground, mewl in agreement.

In my chronic naivete, I’ll never understand why the powers that be, don’t see this as clearly as I do.

Yes, we have The Right to Bear Arms, whether it’s to protect ourselves, our family or our Chef’s Salad, but responsibly, to insure the safety of all our citizens, especially the children.

An American, and a Lady, who cares.    

PS…Don’t forget to vote.


Posted in Family, History, Home, humanity, internet, kids, New York City, parents, Politics, violence, war, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Best Story of the Week…November 2

images Subway…Grand Central Station…rush hour

I stand on the packed platform with those going home, awaiting the express. There’s a tall, hefty hardhat next to me armed with a huge toolbox, ready to board.

We’re like horses at the starting gate determined to get a seat.

As the doors fly open, we stand to the side like you’re supposed to, to let those off, unlike others not as polite.

As we finally enter the car, all seats are now taken.

“We weren’t fast enough,” I say, taking it better than him only facing two stops, seeing he’s visibly disappointed having to stand, probably going to the Bronx, exhausted after putting in a long, hard day.

Suddenly a robust, flamboyant, young man sails across the car due to a jolt, falling into a seated Latino girl with dreds and a nose ring, who to her credit, doesn’t kill him.

Imagine Jackie Gleason shot out of a cannon, in Chanel.

Everyone grins despite Jackie’s embarrassment, but hardhat, who grabs his arm while gallantly suppressing a smile the guy gratefully sees.

So what do we know about this 40ish, fit, man-of-color? He’s hard working, polite and chivalrous, with a sense of propriety, and good humor.

We like him, so as the car settles back in, I remember having two bottles of Poland Spring in my bag, offering him one.

He takes it graciously as I toast him with mine.

As I’m about to get off along with Jackie who’s now composed with fresh lipstick, he gently touches my elbow causing me to turn and says, “Thanks Miss., be safe…have a good night.”

The upside of a random act of kindness is, you get to bask in the receiver’s light even though nothing has changed since, he’s still leaning against the door, his toolbox between his feet one of them is now resting on.

Yet you feel the shift. Jackie’s from not being overtly laughed at, and his being noticed as the dignified man that he is.

As for me?

Receiving is in the giving remember, so as I make my way home, spirits happily heightened, I find myself humming, clickin’ up my high heels.


Posted in Faith, Fashion, grace, Gratitude, humanity, humor, New York City, travel, Women and men | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Smurfs in the Lobby

It’s pre-dusk on Halloween as I stand outside watching trick-or-treaters, annoyed our building doesn’t participate since the board voted against it.

Such tight asses they are, making you wonder, were they ever kids before they became such pompous party poopers?

I went trick-or-treating, with Moses actually, but still remember, so when two little twin boys showed up as Smurfs, I spun into action.

Luckily, the one doorman who could have worked for Dillinger, looked the other way as Smurf and Smurf and their Nanny, dressed as a black Snow White, along with Myrtle, the Poodle, wearing a white robe and halo, followed me into the elevator (only in New York). Did I mention they were carrying Goldman Sachs bags? Their father probably owns the entire city block.

When we got to my floor, I called my neighbors who were all home and said, look alive, there are Smurfs in the house.

As they went around ringing doorbells, everyone answered to the joyous sound of…


Patrick the cat came out to sniff at Myrtle, alongside his owner who just happened to have Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on hand.

Mimi’s two little tenants, just home from a Halloween party, provided Milky Ways and Gummy Bears.

I had Lollipops and gum, while K came out with a carrot cake fresh from the oven.

Even the angel, Myrtle, got a slice.

Suddenly the elevator opens and the super, a big company man, busted us like we were the Bugs Moran gang.

“Whaat’ the hell’s goin’ on hea?”


“Now look whatcha did,” I said, with my hands up, “you made a Smurf cry.”

“Calm down Frank,” K said, handing him a plate and a fork. “No harm done.”

Frank, tripping over Patrick, now happily licking frosting with Myrtle, interrupted whatever he was about to say, so K said, “Relax Frank, it’s a piece’a cake.”    images



Posted in animals, dessert, Family, food, friendship, Home, humanity, humor, kids, New York City, words | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Audrey Heartburn

My mother, to be funny, used to call me Audrey Heartburn every time I was told I looked like Audrey, realizing after 30 years of therapy, it was because she was jealous of the comparison.

It’s no wonder one has self-esteem issues, having a mother as a competitor.

To be truthful, Audrey Hepburn was much better looking than I ever was, and did copy her style, even now since, after all these years, the waif look still works.

Women ask where I got my black ballet flats and Capri pants that end above the ankle. T-shirts that are just plain cotton. French sailor pullovers that have been around forever beneath a slim black blazer you can buy at any Gap.

Can’t leave out that little black dress worn with only pearls.

Classic clothes that still impress as if they’re brand new.

But back to the Italian Cruella DeVille. She’d say things like, who do you think you are dressing like Sabrina, before confiscating my tights and turtleneck saying she had no idea what happened to them.

I started hiding things under the mattress and behind my bureau trying to outsmart her, alas, a losing battle. And if I accused her, she’d slap then punish me, the trap I’d fall into time and time again.

When I was finally on my own, it took a while before I felt my beloved belongings were safe, afraid someone would climb through the window leaving, wearing my shoes.

Lila, a shrink I had, was the one who cured me of my sartorial paranoia saying, if I securely shut the windows and locked the door, my wardrobe would be fine.

In hindsight, I was a kid out on my own way too soon, without stable ground to stand on. If asked, how I managed to survive and even flourish at times, I’d say, it was due to my innate sense of humor, carrying me like a life raft.

To this day, you’d find an item or two, along with a little cash, under my box springs, because well, when you’re Audrey Heartburn, you just can’t be too careful. images-2 images-1 images-3There’s the real thing, then there’s me.







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