Best Story of the Week..Anything for a Donut

I tool to the coffee cart, mid morning, my latest new bad habit, to get a cup of cheap but sugary coffee from Jose.

He always gives me a large despite asking for a medium, the way a bartender would a regular customer.

This morning, he, after taking care of me says, “You in a hurry? Will you watch my cart for a minute?” giving trust a whole new spin. Imagine being in charge of all those donuts.  

I say, “Sure,” without thinking, as he prances into Petco I later learn to use their restroom.

A line has gathered with me standing protecting the Danish with my life, saying with much authority, “Jose will be right back,” while everyone waits despite two carts on two other corners. You can’t say New Yorkers aren’t loyal to their cart men.

Finally he reappears, thanking me, but before I can take flight, hands me a bag with two huge glazed donuts covered in enough sugar to shoot me to Mars.

Despite trying to tame my sweet tooth, donuts being the crack of pastries, smile happily and say, “Jose, anytime my friend, anytime,” as I start eating, the sugar junky that I am, falling off the wagon, or in this case, the cart.  🙂



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I’m Your Goomba, No Matta What

Goomba is Italian slang for friend, and I’m a good one, and stay one, no matter what you do.

“Oh, so they dug up heads in your backyard? Hmm, are you in jail? Can I bring you anything?”

“I just shot my husband.”

“Oh dear, I’m so sorry…did ya eat?”

It’s the Italian in me, all accepting.

I learned to be loyal when I was little, from my grandfather who’d say, “Don’t tell on Fluffy, say you don’t know who ate the goldfish.”

I was 3, and you couldn’t beat a confession out of me.

Omerta’, the Italian code of silence, was already embroidered on my bib.

We lived in a two family house and he and my evil grandmother and her wooden spoon, resided on the first floor.

Grampa made wine on his side of the cellar. Vino: 1 and 2, one being weak, but you’d have to hand over your car keys before you’d get near a jelly glass of Vino Number 2.

I’d sit on a stool and watch while he stirred and sang Scilian songs, and when it was ready, he’d always give me a little taste with the added reminder, don’t tell your mother.

One day I tooled back upstairs and there she was, gazing into her crystal meatball. “You were just with Grampa, weren’t you?”


“Did he give you wine? If you tell me the truth, you won’t get punished.”

Well, imagine Clemenza ratting on the Don. She could have hung me on meat hooks and there was no way I’d be squealing on Grampa.

Despite knowing I was already cooked, like the lasagna in the oven, I still said, “No.”

Well, me and my dolls were separated for a month after that, because unbeknownst to me, I had a little red mustache that told all.

 I had yet to learn…hide the evidence…even if it’s in the backyard.


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Blogging Another Year

I’m amazed to be still at it, and one of the reasons is, it gives me a place to write.

I view it like the gym…I work out here.

My following is minimal since, I’m not a social media girl even of late, dismantling my Facebook page I rarely went to after I was smugly asked, how come you have so few friends?

I realize self-promotion is a big part of capturing an audience, but preening has never been my strong point.

I’m also not a fan of…if you LIKE me, I’ll LIKE you. It means more to me to have a handful of steady readers who tune in, simply because they truly like how I write, rather than a group that probably doesn’t even read half of what they claim they do.

My writing means more than anything else, sustaining me in all ways, so perhaps I’ll just have to be satisfied with that.

I thank those who grace me by their constant attendance. You know who you are.

Also sending my annual acknowledgement to Amy Foster who initiated athingirl, way back in 2011.

1,776 pieces have been posted, another 35 in the warm-up circle.

I choose today to be, to quote my pal David Stewart…

a writa’ no matta what.

Susannah Bianchi


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The Colonoscopy Chronicles

Self-care can be a real pain in the ass, no pun intended.

I’ve been due for a colonoscopy, since the last one I had was 12 years ago, and being health conscious decided, let’s get it, or me rather, off the table.

I’m at the age where, everywhere you look the message is, it’s only going to get worse. If I see one more fossil babbling from a wheelchair while their attendant is on her phone to Haiti, I just might be a headline in the New York Post.

We’re living too long, I’m told, but like my pal Ed says, the alternative isn’t too appealing either.

So, for you youngins’ having no idea how humiliating this procedure is, let me enlighten you.

The night before, you have to drink enough Gatorade to fuel the Green Bay Packers, mixed with a formidable laxative that could launch you to the moon. You can’t eat, only allowed liquids, and if you’re stupid enough as I was, to make an afternoon appointment, expect to be practically dead from hunger.

I crawl the 6 blocks since, it’s hot as hell, too cheap to hail a cab that would rival the dinner I’m planning on having, so when I enter the Colonoscopy Center of New York, I’m not exactly whistling Dixie.

Carmen, I’ll call her, the little receptionist, takes my ID and insurance card like I was ISIS, before ordering me to sit down. Did I mention I have a headache that, when asked on a scale from 1-10, I say, 50? You see, I had no coffee either because you can’t have milk.

I shimmy back up to the desk to ask, “Hey, when it’s over, they feed you, right?” So wishing I had packed something light like, Fettechine Alfredo with a little garlic bread, or a pizza, and this other girl says, “Like, they don’t give you dinna’ or nothin, just snacks.”

Hey, I didn’t expect a Blue Plate Special there J-Lo.

I go back and sit down.

My name is called to come to a little booth that would be perfect for fortune telling, to get me to sign all those charming, we’re not responsible, papers. You know, in case you die on the table. It really boosts your confidence especially when you then have to give them your, in case of emergency number...twice.

Suddenly another short, Latino girl, all of 13, comes out to get me, handing me a shopping bag once belonging to Gulliver, to store my clothes and bag in that will be kept under my trusty gurney, I’ve named Phil, since we’ll be together for the whole time.

Why Phil? How the hell should I know, I’m starving, remember?

So now I’m in a checked hospital gown that’s seen much too much bleach, I mention to J-Lo now in charge, who smiles, as she takes my vitals and places little stickie things on my chest, to monitor my heart that let’s hope, doesn’t stop in protest.

My anesthesiologist pops in, an Asian fella fresh out of school, who says, “It’s a cinch, don’t worry,” as he shoves pink prongs up my nose like a doomed pig.

“Hey, like, I’m skinny, I don’t need a lotta drugs, okay?”

I know they’re all saying, she’s a nut, but tough. They look like the Symbionese Liberation Army in scrubs, so a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do, right?

Enter Dr. C., also younger than anyone I know, who tells me all will be well, before shoving one more, in case you die, form in front of me now convinced they’re taking advantage of my weakened state.

The minute they start the IV, I’m in Oz. It’s so instantaneous, you’re suddenly happy you came.

Like coming out of a dream, 30 minutes later, I’m given snazzy photos of my colon that let’s just say, I won’t be framing. I’m told, it all looks pretty good…BUT…YOUR PREP WASN’T QUITE WHAT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SO WE COULDN’T SEE ANY POLYPS.

“Well, maybe that’s because I don’t have any,” I say, defending my colon and its right to a fair trial.

Then J-Lo, his accomplice, on cue to divert my attention, comes in with apple juice for an elf, and a teensy bag of pretzels I devour not quite digesting “We’d like to see you back in a year.”

“Excuse me? Really? I was thinking more 16. Any chips back there?”

“It’s all written beneath your photos Cynthia.”

“That’s Susannah, thank you very much.” Like he just was intimate with my lower regions, and the sonovatbich doesn’t remember my name.”

Blind dates. Hah!.

J-Lo now gets with the program bringing me three bags of Cheese Doodles with enough sodium to cause that heart attack they were worried about, and just when I’m about to complain about the limited snack buffet, my friend Jane walks in because you can’t leave without an escort, in case you collapse on your way home.

Jane is an angel, with hidden wings, so I now decide to be good, like her, and not slap anybody.

I did everything they told you to do, plus it cost me a day’s work, so despite the Ring Ding that was just handed to me, I’m not a happy girl.

Oh well, lots could happen in a year. Let’s hope for better things.

I could get hit by a bus and never need a colonoscopy again.

That’s the Italian in me, always looking for that rainbow.



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Best Story of the Week…Turtling Along

I’m a creature of habit, tending to do everything the same way without change.

I find it comforting, however, sometimes it pays to switch paths.

There I was crossing the Park, on my way west, when suddenly Bethesda Fountain came to mind. It’s a favorite landmark of mine, I rarely see, since it’s not on my normal route, adding 5 or so minutes to it. 

I know, I know, are you that anal?


When I came to the Boathouse where I’d take a right in order to see the Angel of the Waters, the name of the angel who sits on top of the fountain, something pulled me there.

Unbeknownst to me, it was a huge turtle tooling in the grass barely noticed, like he was in camouflage like an amphibious, mini Marine.

I happen to be a big turtle fan, so to say I was charmed is an understatement.

I then see a school group coming over the hill so I, in my reptilian glory scream…

“Hey, looky here.”

They were no more than 12 as they clustered around me like the pubescent paparazzi, taking snapshots of our shelled pal who posed as if he knew, hey, this is my 5 minutes of fame.

I loved how he didn’t hide in his shell. It was as though he was hosting them like unexpected visitors in his backyard

Their teacher, a Mrs. Longstreet, no relation to the Civil War General (I asked), started a whole dialogue with these kids about the difference between a tortoise and a sea turtle that had me taking notes.

Tortoises are land creatures, only popping in water to drink or bathe. A sea turtle however spends all its time in water.

“What about Big Sam?” asked some kid in a Yosemite T-shirt.

“Who’s Big Sam?” I said, like I was one of them.

“He’s the school mascot. He lives in the Science lab,” snapped a sassy, redheaded girl, like I was supposed to know.

“Mrs. Longstreet said, “Sam is a box turtle, and even though he loves to swim, he’s still considered a turtle…kind of half and half. Also his shell is different, like this fellow’s who I’d say, is a tortoise maybe related to Sam.”

The kids all laughed since apparently Big Sam is one helluva turtle.

I was so enamored of this woman having the attention of these children, not to mention me hanging on to every word she said.

After feeling I may have over stayed my welcome, I took leave.

Suddenly, the redhead yelled out, “Thanks Ma’am. We’ll show Big Sam he has a cousin not too far away.”

And as I turned back around, 15 school kids were waving at me like old friends.

  To say I was charmed, is an understatement.




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Jefferson Survives…July 4th, 1826

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both died on July 4th, 1826.

Adams was 90, Jefferson, 82.

They had been friends, foes, then friends again much of their adult lives.

Adams was the one who coaxed Jefferson into writing the Declaration of Independence insisting, he was the better writer of the two.

So at 33 years-old, Thomas Jefferson penned our nation’s greatest document, ratified on July 4th, 1776, now resting nobly at the National Archives in Washington D.C. with 56 humble signatures poignantly attached.

They weren’t religious men, Jefferson a deist, believing in a creator based on reason rather than the supernatural. He was a scientist after all, while Adams believed in Unitarianism, one God for all.  One could say, Tom was the more lighthearted of the two, a liberal in his day, while his pal, in comparison, was buttoned-up in his beliefs.

In other words, Tom could be the life of the party.

After both being president, what would they have to say to what’s going on today?

Jefferson would no doubt take it better, reminding us we’ve weathered worse and this too shall pass.

Adams, on the other hand, would be crunching Tums complaining to his wife Abigail, especially about the children being separated from their parents.

Abigail, the Hillary Clinton of her time, would remind him, she too was separated from her eldest son, John Quincy, that would shut John up pretty fast being the one who took him away from her.

“I was very stoic John, but broken-hearted.”

Who’s she kidding, Hillary, I mean Abigail, was tough as nails and pushed John Quincy to go, priming him for greatness, that we of course benefited from.

Speaking of Mrs. Adams, she was the one who brought about the reconciliation with Jefferson, launching a golden correspondence that can be read today, revealing in their twilight years, how life’s minutiae just doesn’t much matter at its end.

Adam’s last words were, Jefferson survives, even though unbeknownst to him, his friend had already taken flight.

No one was quite sure of Jefferson’s last words, but clearly his room was ready first, no surprise there. Maybe he’s at the Jefferson Hotel in D.C. named for him, and John, the Hay Adams, named for his great-grandson, Henry.

Hey, stranger things have happened.

Happy Independence Day Tom and John, wherever you happen to be.

John Adams                                                 Thomas Jefferson



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Love Me Love My Pit

It’s no secret I’m a Pitbull lover, relating to them as a breed no one wants.

I feel like that at times, being separate and different, not mainstream because of my own personal history.

My first Pit was Oscar, belonging to a neighbor, a rescue who had to be kept on doggie Prozac because he was so nervous from being mistreated as a pup. Oscar

Then I met Jennifer Panton who runs the United Action for Animals and her Pit, Anthony, who rescues them from all over the city.

Society has been educated to be frightened of Pits, but any breed that’s tortured and taught to fight and harm, will do just that.  I knew a Cocker Spaniel that, if you looked at it wrong, would tear your arm off.  The irony was, it belonged to a very wealthy family living in a 5th Avenue building who didn’t allow Pits as pets.

Yesterday I had a Pit sighting leaving me smiling all day.

I was en route to an Al-Anon meeting all gussied up honoring the nice weather, when I see two up ahead with a young woman in her 20s.

“Are they yours? I ask, since she could have been their walker.

“Oh yes,” she said, proudly.  She was a pretty girl, tall and fit with a haircut very much like mine, wearing Jackie glasses since she too had wide-spaced eyes same as me.  We could have been cousins actually.

Her dogs were a father and son…Issac and Julius, rescued and happy as can be.

“Do they sleep with you?” I ask, letting them sniff my legs to make sure I was safe to be near their mistress.

“Yeah,” she says, “one on either side.”

“They’re so solid,” I say, “must be like having a man in bed.”

“Two,” she says grinning.

Just then, Julius, Issac’s baby boy, leans in for a serious nuzzle, so I immediately give him a good scratch and heinie rub, a dog’s universal sweet spot.

He then sits down showing me he has a woody the length of a rolling pin.

His mistress says, a bit horrified, “Oh God I’m so sorry. He does that when he’s happy.”

I laugh. “Boys will be boys after all, and don’t apologize, it means, I still got it.”

This time we both laugh, and as I went on my way turning when I reach the corner, Julius was still in Pasha pose looking fondly in my direction.

I scream, “Don’t forget to call me now Julius, ya hear?” Mom and me, still giggling.

How’s this for a picture….Jennifer and Anthony.



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What I Saw

 A man in the park lifting his Siberian Husky, refusing to leave, basking in the sunshine like a sheep on strike.

A cardinal coming in for a landing on a fencepost right in front of me as if to say, hey, what a day, huh?

My neighbor, in the lobby, yelling at the Fairway delivery boy who forgot her orange juice smiling when he politely said, “Lada, ah just da-liva, ah don’t pack.”

My super putting sunblock on his big, bald head.

Kenny the mailman looking quite spiffy in his postal regulation Bermuda shorts even though his legs are as bowed as the Lincoln Tunnel.

Patrick the cat coiffing in the hallway where, to quote my grandfather, his ballings used to be.

The array of pastels people are wearing while restlessly waiting on the subway platform.

An old man on the train reading Hemingway.

Two school girls in identical uniforms sweetly holding hands.

A puppy’s little tail merrily wagging from a Barnes and Noble tote.

“Did that come with the bag?” I ask grinning.

He grins back, gently tucking it back in.

A pretty, plump, well-dressed woman of color feeling faint, and the whole car helping her: the Chinese woman who gave her a fan, a hard hat his seat, me a bottle of water and what was most impressive, the well-heeled, gray haired lady, her lace hankie to dab at the perspiration dripping down her flushed face.

“No, this is your good handkerchief,” she said with alarm.

And our own Mrs. Astor without missing a beat replied, “Now now, I have many, and besides, this is what they’re for.

Just a thin girl, paying attention.    


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All Hoodies Up

There was a time not that long ago, if a hint of rain was expected, I’d never leave the house. My iPhone frequently warns me showers are imminent poking my acute phobia about getting wet in its side.

Like Carmela, the Basset Hound, I HATE it. To be damp and squeaky, your tights clinging making you resemble licorice leaving imaginary dye along your thighs.

However, in her twilight years things have changed.

I suit up like a Navy Seal and head to the park ready to do battle with any cloud.

Take this morning when I came downstairs my doorman bleating caution…it’s gonna storm. I wouldn’t go if I were you.

Yet, with my hoodie in place, I took off in a sprint determined to run my 4 miles even if the monsoons came.

There were few Seals out there, but those who were had their hoodies up sparing with Mother Nature who I believe likes when you go toe-to-toe.

That’s when she cuts you a break, because though misty and cool, a wetness in the air like a coming attraction, the skies didn’t open until I was safely back in my door, worked out breathless and dry…     

all hoodies up.



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Oh God

I was raised Catholic, though running for my life, my mother using God like a machete to scare me half to death, certainly a bad rap for the great creator.

My God as of late is more casual, in a baseball cap with a tattoo on his muscley bicep that says, TRUST ME with angels across it. Hells Angels, but hey, this is New York remember.

I talk to him a lot, often with attitude since he’s not coming through fast enough.

“I’m busy,” he tells me, “look what’s going on: earthquakes, addiction, this across the border business, and a lot of inappropriate Tweeting if you get my drift. Thank the Lord, meaning me, my Apostles didn’t have internet access, especially Paul since you know, he’d be all over Facebook.”

“Yeah but, what about me?”

“I’ll get to you, be patient.”

“Yeah but, you didn’t make me patient.”

“Everyone’s entitled to a slip.”

This morning I was in the park and a robin was sitting demurely on a fencepost. I stopped to admire her assuming it was a female since she was cleaning under her wings.

I heard God mutter, “see, you think I’m so inept, but look at how perfect I made her; she flies, lands, has a good sense of direction, for a woman that is, all using what, if you don’t mind me saying, all the good I gave her.”

“Yeah yeah, but what about me?”

“Gotta go, I’m needed in Washington.”

“Now that’s an understatement.”

He also has a sense of humor since he rarely provides anything you’d expect. It always comes in what I call, prankster packaging, letting you know how clever he is.

You expect him on foot, but instead he parachutes in…the little celestial comedian.

“You need a better job you say? Well, next time be more specific. How did I know they were gonna put you in a cat suit in 9o degree weather. Write in big letters Susannah, so I don’t forget. I’m busy, I keep telling you.”

“Jesus God, must I do everything?”

“Speaking of my only begotten son, he could teach you a thing or two. Let go and let God, for starters. Isn’t that one of your 12 Step slogans? Jesus goes to meetings, I’m surprised you haven’t run into him? My name, by the way, stands for…

Good orderly direction. Get it, GOD?”

“You don’t have to brag, and what’s that you’re humming?’

“I got the whole world in my hands, or more on my hands.”

“Well in that case, I’m going to bed, to read.”

“Good idea…how about throwing in some Corinthians or a coupla’ parables?”

“How bout you answering a few of my prayers?”

“I’m on it, but like I said, I’M BUSY!

“Oh God!”        



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