Archive for June, 2003

Jun 30 2003

Seen & Heard

Published by under Uncategorized

Woke up on Saturday to a Bay-full of blissful, silver fog. The foghorns joyfully announced the end of the heat wave in their deep, authoritative voices (they are very convincing). In the distance, I could hear the sea lions at Pier 39 barking their happiness at the alleviation of the heat, with the wild parrots’ wild, harsh voices and clatter of wings providing the top note in this San Francisco symphony of hometown noises. The only thing missing was the bright jangle of the cable car bells, since none dare approach our neighborhood. Note to fans: the 40th annual cable car bell ringing contest is coming up in the middle of July. It’s held on or around our friend Mike C.’s birthday, just for him, even if he isn’t here. If you are, check it out!

On the way to work today, I found an origami crane, made of patterned, dark blue paper. It was abandoned on the sidewalk, so I picked it up and brought it to work, where it is currently gracing my computer monitor. Probably good office feng shui, and it ain’t like I don’t need it, what with another quarterly reporting time just around the corner. The good thing is that we finally have another analyst (sadly, not Colin, who decided not relocate to San Francisco and ditch all his summer plans to take the job)*, starting around the time of the cable car bell ringing contest. The bad news is that we’ll be too busy to train him, but will have to find the time.

As I picked up the crane, a guy passed me with an inflatable doll carried on his shoulders, the way your parents may have done when you were a kid, if that’s not too horrifying a conjunction of images. I’m afraid it gets worse, because the doll was wearing vinyl, flame-patterned boots and nothing else, including its head, which was completely missing. The guy was whistling.

*Because then I’d find out once and for all if he’s really a professor at Yale, as I suspect, instead of the high school student he claims to be!

2 responses so far

Jun 27 2003

Heat Wave

Published by under Uncategorized

So it’s been about a million degrees here the past couple of days, which equals an even crankier than usual Me. It’s like living on the sun. By the time I got to the gym after work on Wednesday (it was a mere 88&degF/31&degC that day and I walked there up hill, arriving light-headed: what was I thinking?!), my hands were swollen little sausages and working out, despite the air-conditioning in the gym, didn’t help matters.

It was so hot yesterday that I took the cable car home, because walking up the hill, even on the shady side, was out of the question at 97 fun-filled degrees F (or 36C, which is fun-filled as a bra size but not as weather). Just leaving the overly air-conditioned office building, where I had been shivering all day in my appropriate for the baking heat of the outdoors but inappropriate for the mini-Alaska of the indoors outfit was enough. The heat hit with the force of a blast furnace, and you know what? The sun’s rays really do beat down. Like you can feel them hitting your skin and making it sizzle in spite of SPF 45 sunscreen.

This makes me wonder how people in Arizona and Florida and other places that are legendarily hot on a routine basis survive. They must go from air-conditioned car to equally A/C’d offices and then back to A/C’d apartments or houses, but the unnatural cold of the A/C is almost as unpleasant as the natural heat of the sun. Does one’s body eventually become accustomed to it and better able to cope?

Fortunately for us, the heat wave is supposed to be over by Sunday, and we should be back to our usual daytime highs of around 70&degF/21&degC. Sweating will once more be relegated to the gym, where it belongs, and I will no longer fear setting foot outside. I can’t wait to hear the fog horns again, signalling the arrival of the blessed fog and its natural air-conditioning.

4 responses so far

Jun 26 2003

Surreal Estate

Published by under Uncategorized

Before we went on vacation, we had one of those delightful condo owner meetings which are always planned for the most inconvenient time possible (for us, anyway), and which always seem to end up costing money. I realize that this is one of the cons of living in a 6 unit building instead of a 60 unit building, since there are fewer of us to pay for things, but being hit with a 25% increase in monthly maintenance dues plus a “one time” fee of $1,000 to repair the building’s roof pretty much ruined my day. Everyone else seemed to take this news with equanimity, since they are all inexplicably wealthy, whereas we were horrified, being the poor white trash of the building and all. At least we have a couple of months to come up with the $1,000. God.

As if that weren’t enough building-related bad news, the neighbor in the apartment above ours announced that she had bought a house (how?! how?!) and would be renting out her place for the princely sum of $2,600 a month. I immediately began to fear the new neighbors being from hell, in the way so many neighbors are. God.

Came back from vacation to find that she had actually sold the place for more than half a million dollars, which suggests that the new owner(s) will have no problem with the $1,000 fee or the monthly fee and that we remain the undisputed PWT of the building.

It’s so weird when you think about owning an apartment. I mean, what do you actually own? We don’t own the building, or the land it stands on. I guess we own air. How surreal is that?

9 responses so far

Jun 24 2003

Late Art

Published by under Uncategorized

I seem to developed a bad habit – well, I should be allowed one or two, right? – of barely getting to art exhibits before they close. It’s just like madly doing your homework on a Sunday night, even if you had two weeks to do it, because you were too busy having fun and all of a sudden, the deadline looms with frightening proximity.

I have apparently learned nothing from those long-ago school days, since I’m still procrastinating, but in a mirror image or Alice Through the Looking Glass way: I’m putting off the things I want to do because I’m so busy doing the things I have to do. And there you have it: the horrible truth about being a grown-up, even one as faux as I am, the one that they don’t tell you when you’re a kid*. And PS, that permanent record they’re always threatening you with at school doesn’t exist.

Anyway, I finally got to see the Treasures of Modern Art exhibit at MOMA – on the day it closed. Talk about pushing it! I went over at lunch and wondered why I don’t do that more often. If I lived in London and worked in the City, I’d pop into the National Gallery at lunch. Though come to think of it, when you actually live somewhere, you never do things like that.

The exhibit was great and I was amazed as always by what one person can collect and how very wonderful it would be to be a private collector. Standouts for me included Warhol’s stunning Red Liz (I’ve been an Andy fan since high school) and two Mondrians, particularly one which was still in progress when he died, showing how the artist worked. There was an entire room of Rauschenberg, among them the legendary but seldom exhibited “Erased De Kooning Drawing” and “Tire Tracks”, both made in the early 1950’s. Rauschenberg made “Tire Tracks” by taping together 20 feet of paper and placing it on the street in New York City outside his studio. He then painted one tire of composer John Cage’s Model A Ford with black paint as Cage slowly drove over the paper. But my favorite of the Rauschenbergs was the “Hiccups”, 97 pieces of fabric all silk screened with different images and in some cases collages, zippered together and displayed in a long piece across two walls.

While in Toronto, I stopped by the Art Gallery of Ontario, where I spent several happy hours. I loved the “In Light” exhibit, where the artwork included video, film, or light of one kind or another. My favorite piece was one that looked like a textured bronze wall with a flapping (and apparently real) bird wing on each side, highlighted by red laser lights. It was both disturbing and moving, as was the “Pop Photographica” exhibit.

This exhibit was an incredible collection of objects including photographs from the 1800’s to the present. Along with the usual Victorian memento moris (hair bracelets with photos of the deceased; photos of dead children with locks of their hair; one really elaborate shadow box with photo of dead man along with heavy silver coffin fittings), there were some truly remarkable objects:

1. A woman’s sewing case from the 1880’s with elaborate wood inlays and secret drawers, featuring photos of herself in the lid as she aged.

2. A sterling silver purse from around the same period with a photo of the owner’s dog on it. This was very unusual indeed – most had a photo of a loved one on them – and shows that the young lady in question had a mind of her own. I’m sure Kelly would approve!

3. A chess set with the faces of Union and Confederate generals along with Abraham Lincoln on the board’s squares. Apparently this was a huge seller during the Civil War.

4. The creepiest item to my mind: a rag doll from about 1900, beautifully preserved and dressed, but with its owner’s face. Someone had photographed the child and transferred the photo to cloth and then made it into a doll, so doll and owner had the same face. It’s a very weird effect.

If you live in or near Toronto, you should definitely check it out. Quick, before it’s too late!

*Even if they did, you wouldn’t believe it.

No responses yet

Jun 23 2003

Mom Update

Published by under Uncategorized

Mom seems to be doing better. It’s hard to know how much of her symptoms are because of the TIA and how much can be attributed to age, fighting the cancer, and radiation. But her condition seemed improve each day over the weekend, so maybe she really just needs rest and company while she gets her strength back. She is seeing her own doctor today, so hopefully we’ll know more after that. My brother is with her now and might take her back home with him to the country for a week if the doctor says it’s OK.

Can you tell I’m proud of my sis? Here’s Megan at work, with the ambulance she drives.

2 responses so far

Jun 21 2003

Petaluma Pause

Published by under Uncategorized

It’s the longest day of the year, and even if it weren’t, it would feel like it, ’cause I’m Mom-sitting.

John’s quick trip to Petaluma earlier this week may have suggested to the alert reader that there is something going on with my Mom, and indeed there is.

Mom had a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or mini stroke to the non-medically educated, last Sunday while visiting my brother and sister. She seems to have recovered, but we feel that isn’t safe to leave her on her own for now, so we’re taking it in shifts to Mom-sit.

My sister Megan brought Mom home on Thursday to keep an appointment with the local hospice to discuss the services available when Mom’s cancer gets more critical and to keep her doctor’s appointment on Friday. Megan has to work over the weekend – such being the life of an EMT – so John and I are taking turns and then my brother Jonathan is taking over on Sunday. The bigger question at this point is whether she can continue to live on her own. Megan thinks Mom will live longer if she’s independent, and her apartment does have pull cords to call 911, but it’s so hard to know what to do.

I got here yesterday afternoon, and so far, so good. She kind of leans to the left, but seems otherwise OK. I kept asking her if she was all right every five minutes, which probably drove her crazy, but she fell asleep last night holding my hand.

3 responses so far

Jun 19 2003


Published by under Uncategorized

Vacation Suzy has definitely left the building. I’m no longer staying up late, sleeping in, drinking and eating with abandon, and getting exercise only from shopping and opening bottles of wine. I’m back to the every day or Puritan Suzy, who gets up unspeakably early and goes to bed &agrave la fermi&egravere (this early to bed, early to rise routine has yet to make me wealthy or wise, although it might have contributed to my general health). I have one wicked cup of black coffee a day, and otherwise drink spring water and green tea. Wine bottles gather dust on my wine rack.

I am amazed by how quickly a couple of weeks of self-indulgence can lower one’s fitness level, and also by how much I missed the gym while I was Vacation Suzy. I really should have brought my workout wear. I would barely give myself a passing grade on packing for the trip to Canada. I totally overestimated how much sunny and warm weather there would be, and hardly got to wear half of the cute things I brought. It would have been much better if I’d brought exercise clothes’n’shoes instead, but who knew? I will be better prepared next time, assuming they’ll let me back in the country, that is.

Anyway, I was back at the gym on Monday. I was surprised by how hard it was to do some things, though thankfully, not all of them. It’s not like I’m right back at square one or anything, but it is a little frustrating, especially to the patience-free. I can definitely feel it, too, but it’s good to be back. Who knew, indeed. I never thought I’d be the kind of girl who’d pack sneakers instead of kitten heeled mules.

3 responses so far

Jun 17 2003

Festive homecoming

Published by under Uncategorized

We were so glad to be home, where it looks like this (no rain, no clouds, no thunderstorms and temperatures in the 70’s, where they belong), that we had to go outside immediately on Saturday morning and re-acquaint ourselves with the beautiful city we love. We had a new-found appreciation for the clean sea breezes, the lack of humidity and mosquitoes, the beauty of the buildings, the ability to buy booze at the corner store the way nature intended (I was still Vestigial Vacation Suzy last weekend, though as of yesterday I’m back at the gym and my boring, water-drinking non-vacation Self).

We headed to the North Beach Festival. North Beach is the Italian neighborhood and home to countless great restaurants, Molinari’s deli, where you go in, grab your bread, and hand it to one of the guys behind the counter, who will make you one of the best sandwiches you have ever had, and of course, Caffe Trieste, one of the oldest coffeehouses in San Francisco and supplier of caffeine to Me, making it possible for me to get out of bed as early as I do when I’m not being Vacation Suzy. Oh, yeah, and the oldest bar in the city, the functionally named The Saloon, which is small, well-used, and unpretentious – everything a bar should be.

However, we chose to do our drinking outside in the bright sunlight instead. We drank Margaritas which were being sold from a booth along with great street food (I love street food) to the strains of a fantastic band from Santa Cruz called SambaD?, a wonderful and unclassifiable mix of Brazilian dance music blended with reggae, funk, hip-hop, and who knows what else. They had no fewer than three percussionists and it was a blast (check out the MP3’s on their site). You have to love being able to drink and dance in the street.

Even SPF 45 wasn’t enough to stop me from getting a slight sunburn on my face and arms – to go along with all those Canadian mosquito bites – but it was worth it. It’s good to be home.

One response so far

Jun 16 2003

(Un)Wanted Poster

Published by under Uncategorized

If you have a permanent record at airports, the way they threaten you with having one at school, I definitely have it at Pearson International in Toronto. Something always seems to happen when I go there. Here you have it, in chronological order:

1. In 1994, John and I went to visit his family (and that was the first time since we moved to San Francisco and the last time I visited them before the visit this month). The 1994 visit to his family was a pit stop on the way to the real destination, Maine, but it meant that we had to fly back through Toronto on our way home, too.

Our arrival coincided with the arrival of two huge jets disgorging hundreds of would-be Canadian citizens, who all had to be processed through Immigration. Most could not speak English and did not seem to have the necessary paperwork. The powers that be felt that John and I, although simply changing planes in Canada, had to go through Immigration with everyone else.

There was no way we could have gotten through in time to catch our plane to San Francisco, which was my only desire in the world at that point. So I threw a great big noisy fuss in Ramona the Pest style until someone in charge came over and asked if he could help me. John was mortified and stayed out of it while I loudly explained the stupidity of our position and my lust for the San Francisco bound plane. He was a wise man not to tangle with an enraged Suzymonster, and took us to the head of the line without comment. At Immigration, the guy asked how long we were staying in Canada. I looked at my watch and said, “Oh, about 15 minutes” with the greatest sarcasm I could muster. He stamped our passports and we ran to the Promised Land of the SF bound plane (and made it). As soon as I could speak again I told John I was never going back there again. Never turned out to be 9 years.

2. Made a brief visit to Toronto in October 2002. On arrival (at almost 9:00 p.m. after travelling all day), I got sent to Immigration, where they informed me that the law had changed in June and if you have or had the right to work in Canada and you move away for good, you have to give it up. They asked if I had done that when I moved, a dozen years earlier. I said I couldn’t remember. They said I had to answer yes or no or they’d deport me, so I said I would have to say no because I couldn’t say that I had. They said I either had to fill out a report that took an hour or go back to San Francisco, and though Option B was looking pretty good, I agreed to the report thing.

They kept making me drag things out of my wallet and bag and asked the same questions three different ways, and really, if I hadn’t had the requisite v’n’v, there probably would have been a repeat of the 1994 incident and they really would have deported my ass. About 50 minutes into this bureaucratic Theater of the Absurd, one of the other officers read the report and said I didn’t have to fill out the report or be deported because I am married to a Canadian. I pointed out that I am in fact married to a reformed Canadian who is now an American citizen, but as far as they are concerned, if you’re born in Canada, you’re Canadian for the rest of your natural-born life (and possibly beyond). So they let me go.

Before fleeing, I told them that we were planning to come back in June and would I have to go through this again. He assured me I wouldn’t, and it was all in the computer.

3. It wasn’t. Same crap when I arrived there a few days before John. I was definitely less nice this time, v’n’v notwithstanding, and told them that I had specifically asked just a few months earlier about this and had been told it was all in the computer. Got called “young lady” which didn’t help. I was so close to saying, “If you really think that someone who was not only born in the US but owns property in San Francisco is going to move here, you’re even more retarded than you look”, but held back. Maybe I really am a grown-up. Honest to GOD though. It’s like they think my one wish is to move back there, when in reality, they couldn’t pay me to.

This time, they stapled a certificate in the back of my passport saying that I promise not to move there. The bad news is that the certificate is only good until the end of the year, so if we go back again next year I may have to go through this again and there may be an international incident.

There you have it: why you may well see Me on a Wanted poster (or, more likely, an Unwanted poster: “Don’t Move Here, Suzy! We’re Begging You!”) if you dare to go there. You have been warned.

3 responses so far

Jun 14 2003


Published by under Uncategorized

Remember how I said I was going to have a Birthday Week? Well, it’s turned out to be more like a Birthday Fortnight, if you’ll excuse the anglicism. I came home to tons of cards and presents, and you know I opened them before I unpacked. I may not be Birthday Suzy anymore, but I am still Suzy, after all.

I decided to display all the cards at once, since the ones I acquired on the road had mostly been packed and dragged along hither and yon instead of being admired as they should be, and I know how much I hate that. They also create a nice game of dominoes for the cats, who knock them over and run away, knowing that I’ll rack ’em up again in no time and they can play again.

So here they are, along with the absolutely gorgeous flowers from Candi which totally made my day. Though I give flowers fairly often, I rarely receive them, so it was especially thoughtful. But what else would I expect from someone who’s practically my sister?

However, my absolute favorite was in the long envelope in the front from Colin. It is an absolutely hysterical letter supposedly from Oprah herself, and with a gold lining in the envelope, no less. I laughed so hard I nearly cried.

I’m convinced that Colin is secretly an English professor from Yale.

2 responses so far

Jun 13 2003

Back home

Published by under Uncategorized

We’re back, safe in body if not sound in mind (but were we ever?).

The series of planes, trains and automobiles required to get us from deeply rural Ontario to relatively* urban San Francisco were fraught with the usual annoyances and unpleasantnesses associated with any and all forms of public transit.

The train from Kingston to Toronto would have been great except for the guy sitting in front of me. He immediately jacked his seat back as far as it would go**, so I could admire the greasy lumps of what remained of his hair, and spent the entire time harassing the guy across the corridor from him. John figured the guy being harassed was some kind of minor Canadian sports-related celebrity (coach? reporter? actual player?) since John and the lunatic ahead of me had seen him on TV, and pretty much the only thing John won’t watch on TV is sports. We never did find out who Minor Celebrity was, but Lunatic was not only a lunatic but tanked and therefore far too voluble for normal human consumption. John said Lunatic also had a notebook full of bizarre writings with phrases of key weirdness highlighted, so we may have gotten off lucky with just boredom and annoyance.

The cab driver in Toronto who took us to the airport took us a very lengthy and stupid way, despite the fact that he was getting a flat fee. Surely he should have wanted to get rid of John, Bertha, and me as soon as possible to get another fare and make more money to help pay for the wear and tear Bertha caused on his shocks, but no. We meandered our way through the muggy grubby rush hour until getting to the airport hotel. Since I was still on my last few hours of being Vacation Suzy, I called Room Service on arrival and got some wine sent up to help banish the horrors du that particular jour. Oh, and food.

Our flight home was at the ungodly hour of 6:30 a.m., which is why we stayed at the airport hotel that night. The airlines require you to be there two hours – in this case, that meant arriving at the even more ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m. – before the flight, and we were. But they weren’t. So we got to stand there, sleep-deprived and bored, until one lone employee showed up, sometime after 5:00 a.m. She showed a remarkable ability to mess around with really important things, like lining up the barriers, instead of dealing with minor issues, like checking in the passengers. I’m telling you, every time I have had anything to do with the Toronto airport in the past decade has been bad news. But that’s another story.

Finally, we got checked in and went through U.S. Customs and Immigration with the greatest of joy. When we got to Security, our bags were searched thoroughly, though thankfully not Bertha, because I don’t know how/if we could have got everything back in. We repaired to the lounge to recover our frayed nerves, where I made the horrifying discovery that there was no alcohol served until 5 hours after our departure. The horror! The horror! Took two valium instead.

When we were boarding, they pulled me aside and searched my bags again. I must look deeply suspicious, or maybe they have heard stories about my bad behavior at their airport before. John had gone ahead holding Bertha’s hand and had a vodka & tonic waiting for me on the plane, but we spilled it while stowing the bags in the overhead bins and had to get another one. I think the flight attendants are still laughing.

In Chicago, we discovered that our seats were not together as originally booked. Flight was oversold and they were begging people to give up their seats in return for a prize, but forget it. We got on anyway and John convinced the guy sitting next to him to trade places with me, incomprehensible though this apparently was to the guy. It was a good thing, because we were delayed in Chicago for over an hour while they dealt with mechanical problems (!). Apparently, it was just something wrong with the internal lighting system and was in no way life-threatening (but would they tell you if it was?!). I took another valium and dozed through the boredom. If I had been alone I probably would have been having a total anxiety attack, despite all that valium. Finally, all was fixed, and it was the usual mix of boredom and bumpiness until we got home.

Now Vacation Suzy has to return to wherever she goes when she’s not being me, and I have to detox from all that de-stressing.

*Relative, that is, to the big city sprawl of Toronto.

**This happens to me every single time I am on a public conveyance that allows seats to be pushed back. I’m not kidding.

3 responses so far

Jun 09 2003

Weekend update

Published by under Uncategorized

You can’t get much more contrast than this with the cement canyons of downtown Toronto. This is the deck at John’s parents’ house on Lake Kennebec. We’re here until Wednesday.

To review the past few days:

Train to Kingston. Train is the only form of travelling any distance that doesn’t scare me at all. Neither v is required, and although I carried my amulets with me, I didn’t actually drape them on my person. I was that confident. The worst part of the trip was carrying my bag, which, like me, had grown bloated from Birthday Week. I’m beginning to wonder how we’re going to get it home. We might have to name it and give it its own room.

Official Child Duty, aka Dad Duty at retirement party for one of Dad’s former colleagues in the middle of Nowhere, Quebec. Discovered that stop signs, while in the traditional shape and color, do in fact say “ARRET” on them. Also discovered that Nowhere, Quebec is where they grow the world’s supply of mosquitoes. I was greeted by a cloud of them with great enthusiasm, and no amount of repEt actually repelled them.

I was greeted with mosquito-like enthusiasm by Dad’s former colleagues and friends, and gave away copies of two of my favorite pictures of him. I didn’t cry, even when I had to explain exactly why he is no longer here.

On the other hand, I got to eat lobster.

They did a really cool thing, which I’m planning to do at the next opportunity. They had made a pinata for the guest of honor in the shape of the pesticide molecule he had worked on. When he opened it, there were little brightly colored plastic Easter eggs inside, each with a letter or email or thought the giver wanted to share with the guest of honor.

Spent the day with John’s brother Mike and his family, including John’s great-nephew Kyle. Kyle turns 7 next month, and this is the first time I had met him, which tells you all you need to know about the kind of wife I am. That, and abandoning the party to ride John’s friend Pete’s motorcycle with Pete. It was the perfect thing to do while wearing the jeans I got in London which are embroidered with sparkly pink beads. I mean, I had to. Also, it was fun. Made a deal with Pete for him to buy my Mustang, so she’ll have a good home and I can still drive her when we’re here visiting John’s family.

Acquired a slight sunburn and more mosquito bites and more birthday presents. My bag is named Bertha and is planning to attend UC Berkeley this fall.

3 responses so far

Jun 06 2003


Published by under Uncategorized

OK, so the whole time I’ve been here it’s been dark, rainy, lightly sprinkled with thunderstorms, and sometimes even downright cold. Today, as I prepare to leave, it’s bright and sunny. I mean, I knew I was a force of nature, but this is ridiculous.

You won’t be surprised that a girl with a mind as deeply trivial as mine has been most entertained by signs noticed while walking around Toronto. Undoubtedly we have just as many weird ones in San Francisco – and, given the nature of San Francisco, possibly even weirder – but I guess they are the kind of things you don’t notice, or stop noticing, when you live there.

Whoever is in charge of this town appears to think that its denizens are, well, “challenged”. In the subway, there are Designated Waiting Area signs along the walls, which strike me as hilarious – as if you can only wait under these signs and nowhere else or you’ll be in trouble. The Kodak Picture Spot signs on Pier 39 strike me the same way. You have to take your picture right here. Two inches to the left is completely unphotogenic.

Apparently, just telling you where to stand on the subway platform isn’t enough. Once you get above ground, you have to be told how to cross the street. Signs like these appear on many intersections, explaining in detail how to cross the street. Really, comment is superfluous. I’m just going to giggle and move on.

To the fortuitous conjunction of the following on Yonge Street:

1. An apparently heart-felt and certainly hand-drawn sign celebrating the mutual love and admiration of the local police force and a local motorcycle gang. Complete with interlocking hearts.

2. Which is located near Mrs. Dalloway’s hot dog stand. I doubt that the heroine of Virginia Woolf’s classic novel included hot dogs in her reflections on her life, even if they are all beef (maybe not a good selling point in these Mad Cow Disease days, anyway).

And finally: the cigarette packages here are decorated with photos of a CSI-level gruesomeness of what might happen to you if you indulge in the temptations within. Apparently they felt the written warnings were insufficient and a visual was required. But I wonder if the pictures of potential doom are any more effective than, say, the death penalty. I mean, no-one thinks they’re going to get caught.

One response so far

Jun 05 2003


Published by under Uncategorized

7:45 a.m., Vacation Suzy Time


It’s pretty non-Vacation Suzy to be up this early. But the combination of actually going to bed on the same day I got up on, and plans to have breakfast with Kathleen before she braves the traffic to return to Detroit were enough to get my aging yet fabulous Self out of bed at what amounts to sunrise in VS time.

The party was everything I could have wished for: Mary-Lou made me a cake from The Bride’s Cookbook; lots and lots to eat & drink; presents (sparkly!) and cards and conversation*. There really is nothing like your girlfriends, whether you have known them for a long time or the friendship is new. And these girls are all so accomplished, witty, charming and delightful to be with. It’s an evening I’ll always remember.

*Yes, guys, we talked about you. Yes, yes.

PS Kelly’s hair is really chic and stylish, so don’t listen to her complaints anymore. She looks great.

One response so far

Jun 04 2003


Published by under Uncategorized

1:00 p.m., Birthday & Vacation Suzy Time

The combination of Vacation Suzy and Birthday Suzy is an almost overwhelmingly self-indulgent one. You know it.

When I finally woke up this morning (and, yes, it was before noon), I called Room Service. I think I should be commended for not doing this before. For one thing, I LOVE Room Service. It’s one of my totally favorite things. And just knowing that I could push a button and get what I want but not doing it is a superhuman feat for Me.

But I felt I could indulge myself on my birthday, so I called Room Service and got black coffee, grapefruit juice, and chocolate croissants, which I happily consumed while reading the New York Times, which arrives magically at my door every morning, birthday or otherwise. Is there a better way to start the day? I’m beginning to think Eloise had the right idea, living at the Plaza in New York, though in my case it would have to be the Fairmont.

Email inbox full of love and birthday wishes, and lots of phone calls. I’m moving to a suite so I’ll have room for my swollen head and ego.

Tonight’s festivities are to be held at my long-time and gorgeous friend Mary-Lou’s house. We have known each other since high school, and she was my bridesmaid. The party will be nothing but fabulous women (including the amazing Kathleen, who drove all the way from Motown just for this, and the fascinating Kelly, who really only moved to Toronto just for this) and fabulous drinks. And cake. Did I mention the cake? What’s a birthday without cake?

My horoscope says: “Despite your many comings and goings, you begin to set up a real sense of community. This leads you to bond with people like never before.”

5 responses so far

Jun 03 2003


Published by under Uncategorized

11:30 a.m. Vacation Suzy Time

Last day of being 40! But I have a party tonight and another one tomorrow. While Vacation Suzy was sleeping, her birthday party was being planned for her. I wish I could be Vacation Suzy all the time. I’m feeling the love, and not feeling my age.

Speaking of which: I saw in the local paper today that the Canadian coins that feature the Queen are going to show her looking older and not wearing her crown, or even a tiara. It’s supposed to make Her Majesty look “more approachable”. I really think it’s the bodyguards that make her unapproachable, you know? Also she looks like she could really swat you with that handbag she always carries. I wonder what’s in it? I bet it isn’t coins with her face on them (imagine how surreal that would be?).

She has aged 4 times on the coins in the 50 years of her reign. If I were Queen, I would refuse to age on the coins at all, no matter how long the reign. It’s the one place where you can control it! And I’d make damned sure I was wearing at least a tiara. The jewelry has to be one of the few perks of having to be Her Majesty.

Better to be Queen for a day (or week) than for life.

3 responses so far

Jun 02 2003


Published by under Uncategorized

It seems that the minute I go on vacation, I immediately change from my water-drinkin’, gym-goin’, early to bed early to rise every day self to Vacation Suzy. Vacation Suzy is constantly going out to dinner (where she eats far too much), drinking wine (ditto), staying up late, getting up late, and having far too much fun. No hangovers have yet impeded my progress, so I’ll probably just keep it up.

I do have a horrible confession to make, though not as stunning as Amy’s (you big show-off). Mine is: I miss going to the gym. I regret not bringing my sneakers and gym wear in addition to all those shoes. I may in fact be a pod person.

Although Toronto and San Francisco could not look more different, one thing they have in common is lots of great restaurants and lots of foodophiles.

We had dinner with our friends Mike & Jennifer the other night, not only a fabulous couple but the parents of one of the two non-annoying babies I personally am acquainted with. I don’t know which is the more impressive achievement, but I do know that we had one of the happiest evenings ever with them, and it wasn’t long enough. And I’m not just saying that because they gave us presents. Mine was a beautiful, amethyst colored vase moderne, and John’s a Canadian chocolate fix. I guess he got a present even though it’s not his birthday so he wouldn’t get all jealous over mine and throw a tantrum.

We had dinner at one of their neighborhood restaurants, Boho, and the food was wonderful. I had duck with blueberry jus on completely perfect garlic mashed potatoes, but was unable to resist stealing some of John’s sweet potato French (Freedom) fries, which were equally excEt. Nor was I able to resist the lemon tart with raspberry sorbet, but I didn’t really try very hard. Add in a bottle of Ravenswood Zinfandel and attentive but not intrusive service, and you have a perfect evening.

Last night, we visited an old favorite, The Real Jerk, with an old favorite, our friend Raven. He used to be my sister Megan’s boyfriend in the long ago mists of time, and even though they broke up years and years ago, we stayed friends. When I love someone, it’s very difficult for them to escape from my life, and there was no way I was going to lose touch with someone this special.

It was good to see him looking so well and happy. All the major life aspects (work/love/job, not necessarily in that order) are going great for him, and he just looks so happy. It was so great to reminisce and laugh and talk and eat the fabulous food. Again, the evening wasn’t long enough.

I’m so lucky to have such wonderful friends.

2 responses so far

Jun 01 2003


Published by under Uncategorized

Someone at the chamber of commerce didn’t get the memo, or ignored it, because it rained all day yesterday. And you know how I love that. If it got it out of its system in time for Birthday Week, which starts tomorrow with a parade and fireworks, it was worth it, though.

John and I hit the major local tourist attractions yesterday. First stop was Mars Diner, just a block from where I used to live when I was at school. I was delighted to discover that it looked exactly the same both outside and inside, right down to the plates (if it’s too small to read, the slogan is “Just out of this world”). It was a great breakfast.

A block away is the street I used to live on. The house I lived in is now on the National Register of Historic Places, of course, which is why it is pretty much unchanged after two decades, right down to the tacky striped metal awning. Historic preservation, you understand.

My friend Alice and I had apartments right next to each other in this house, so it was pretty much an endless slumber party, though with little slumbering done. After all, she was at the beginning of her modelling career, so there were always visitors, and since it was the 80’s, drugs and alcohol flowed freely. It was a very extreme Mary & Rhoda situation.

Last stop on the tourist trail was Kensington Market, a frequent haunt of mine in the old days. It is now either exactly the same or completely changed. One of the places that is still the same is Courage My Love (the bright blue building), where you can get vintage clothes and other cool stuff. Still. It also happens to be where I bought my wedding dress.

No responses yet