Archive for February, 2005

Feb 25 2005

No sun, no fun

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The sun is not sunny in the Sunshine State. It must have gone to Hawaii or Tahiti or something on vacation. In its absence, it is:

– Still hot (it was 70&deg at 10:00 last night. That’s just wrong);

– Still muggy (lost a night’s much-needed beauty sleep due to sweating miserably under just a sheet, too hot and cranky to sleep);

– Raining so hard that I couldn’t hear myself think, assuming I was actually capable of thinking;

– On the second thunderstorm of the day.

I think I’m beginning to rot.

The truth is that I’m afraid of thunderstorms, and the thunder that accompanied these two was positively apocalyptic. I think the house shook more than any earthquake I ever experienced back in California. On the bright side, it has banished the elderly neighbors back into their dens, so I’m spared hearing them holler to each other in their backyards. I’m beginning to suspect that all the glama in Florida is on the other coast. This one – or at least, the part of it I’m staying in – seems to be almost entirely composed of the aged or aging*, which is unnerving, given my fear of death and getting old. It’s like death’s waiting room around here. If I wake up with blue poodle hair one day, I’m cutting to the head of the line.

*Other than religious fanatics, trailer trash, rednecks, and Republicans, that is. These can be combined in nearly limitless variations for added fun.

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Feb 22 2005

State Fare

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It’s the Florida State Fair!

Where you can get anything on a stick. Besides the usual meat suspects (no domestic farm animal went unrepresented here), stick delicacies included:

– Frozen bananas (plain or “p.nut”)

– Key lime pie (this is a bit of a misnomer, since there’s no crust and the frozen pie filling is coated with chocolate, like an eskimo pie)

So you knew you were somewhere tropical.

In addition to the stick foods, I discovered that you can deep fry just about anything, and candidates don’t have to start their lives as vegetables (onions, corn, ‘taters). They can, and do, deep fry:

– Oreos

– Cheesecake

– Snickers bars (battered first)

– Cake batter (they call it “funnel cake” – once it’s done frying, you can add toppings!)

I went on the Ferris Wheel and feel that EB White is full of shit. In the delightful Charlotte’s Web, Fern dreams of kissing Henry at the top of the Ferris Wheel at the Fair. Even if I had someone with me who would volunteer for the task, it’s all unnerving and wiggly up there and kissing is about the last thing on your mind. It’s not even in second place to how far down the ground is and how easy it is to fall out of those perilously rocking seats.

Back on the ground, I went to the petting zoo to play with the animals before they were put on a stick. I got to hold a baby duck and a baby chick! They were so soft you could hardly feel them. And I petted a baby goat, too. I tried and failed to milk a cow, but then, who am I kidding? Can you imagine Farmer Suzy?

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Feb 21 2005

New Blogs

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News you can use:

Miss Aim&eacutee has a cool new look for her blog….

…and my nephew Ben, who is teaching English in China for the next few months, has a brand-new blog.

So go on over and say hi. Visit Florida and China without having to deal with the horrors of car or air travel!!!

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Feb 18 2005

Calamity Suzy

Published by under Calamity Suzy,Florida

It’s Calamity Suzy!!

Yesterday I:

– Fell and scraped both knees, which are now even less fit for public viewing than usual, being red and puffy. I hasten to add that this was sun-related and not alcohol related: I was blinded by the sun and tripped on a huge crack in the driveway.

I did this in front of the two cable guys, who were unlucky enough to be sent to fix the cable. They ended up being here for more than three hours and had to replace pretty much everything. They couldn’t really laugh at me, though, because they were calamity cable guys, one cutting his head on an open window and the other cutting his hand along with the new cable.

– Tore side of dress in the process of falling on the driveway, revealing pale pink satin bra to an unsuspecting public. Failed to realize this until after the cable guys had gone and I had talked to the mailman and a couple of my friend Paul’s neighbors. Belated blushes.

– Hit head getting out of car.

– Melted into tears in front of Paul. Very, very embarrassing.

– Burned my hand on the pot lid while making dinner. Note to self: don’t pick up metal handled lids from boiling pots with bare hands. Really not a good idea.

– Cut the other hand while cutting a lemon.

At this rate, I’m going to need the services of Rico from Six Feet Under while I’m still alive in order to remain at all presentable.

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Feb 14 2005

Florida Lessons

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Florida Lessons Learned So Far:

– Not only did I finally get my sass in a glass, but I learned the Truth About Grapefruit Juice. Normally, only the unattractive grapefruit get made into juice, so the ones you buy whole and unjuiced in the store are the Miss America (or at least Miss Florida) of the grapefruit world. But all those storms last year mean that there just aren’t that many grapefruit left, so the caste system has been temporarily suspended.

– Never leave the car windows open. Rain can appear at any time, soaking everything and then running away giggling, like a naughty kid ringing a neighbor’s doorbell (not that I would ever do such a thing). I learned this the hard way, and the following day was damp and uncomfortable. I think I got butt pneumonia, and will possibly end up with the rare ass arthritis.

– Although geckos running across your living room can be a little surprising, they eat bad bugs, such as mosquitoes, and therefore are our friends. No eeks required.

– However, palmetto bugs are big, tropical cockroaches and should be treated as such. Eeks definitely required.

– Sunscreen can’t completely cancel out the sunshine of the Sunshine State. I have so far avoided my customary sunburn, but am now the rarely seen in winter Great Speckled Suzy.

5 responses so far

Feb 12 2005

Mardi Gras

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On Tuesday night, I went to the Mardi Gras celebration downtown. How appropriate for Supersized Suzy* to attend the Fat Tuesday party! It was a balmy night with about a million stars, and seemingly the same number of partiers. There was a parade, and I collected my fair share of beads and refused to give any away. You know how acquisitive I can be. Not to mention how I love the sparkly!

Overheard at Mardi Gras:

“Walt gave me one of them i-PADS and I just didn’t know what to do with it.”

Teenage girl: “You are such a bitch, Crystal!”

Crystal: “You suck. Remember that.”

*A board of experts has estimated that consuming road food, known for its high grease content, three times a day, results in gaining approximately five pounds a day of ugly fat (is there any other kind?).

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Feb 09 2005

Twice in One Day

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I don’t know why I was surprised at getting lost and/or going the wrong way en route. I mean, no matter where I am, I spend half my time looking for things (especially glasses, very challenging when you’re as blind as the proverbial bat without them), and the other half losing them. Sometimes I think my place is the apartment equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle, where things disappear, never to be seen again.

But yes, it developed into quite the little talent, joining the elite ranks of the few, the shallow, that I already had (whining/complaining; shopping; picking the best thing on the menu and the right wine to go with it). Even the brand-new road atlas couldn’t save me from unscheduled detours, including the infamous twice in one day.

Theoretically, all I had to do was stay on the same road (I-75) and I’d end up in Florida. Of course, it didn’t work that way. The road atlas had not taken into account the Suzy Factor.

First: Somewhere in Tennessee, failed to realize that I-75 going south had sneaked off to the right until I had already passed the exit. It’s quite difficult for the car and map challenged to both drive and read the signs. Eventually I realized that I had missed the exit, and got off the interstate. I ended up in the saddest town I had ever seen. It was nothing but moribund or dead businesses in decaying buildings. I couldn’t find anyone to ask for directions and began to get a panicky, Twilight Zone feeling (“little did Suzy realize that she was the only person alive for miles”). I finally came across a restaurant and got directions. I can’t describe the 55 cent hamburgers, other to say the look and smell of the tiny greasebombs was unforgettable. The waitress was very nice and called me “sweetheart”, which I love. Noticed that the clientele was very polite and all said “‘I appreciate it”, which was quite charming.

Note to self: should have called Aim for directions and then gone to her and Josh’s place to meet the adorable Elle. What was I thinking?!

Anyway, eventually got back on the highway.

Second: After dark, got lost somewhere outside Macon, Georgia. This was especially remarkable, considering that I only made three right turns and then couldn’t find my way back. I was quite dazzled by the beautiful mansions on the first street, but after two more turns, found myself in a much scarier part of town. The convenience store on the corner was the only thing open, so I bravely went in to ask directions. Everyone stared at me as I entered, and I realized that I was the only girl and the only white person there. I went and got a bottle of water and joined the line to pay for it. There were four elderly African American gentlemen ahead of me in line, and one by one, they all told me to go to the head of the line. I thanked them, and as one, they all nodded and looked at their feet.

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Feb 05 2005

Road Trip to Florida

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You may be wondering why it took me so long to get to Florida. Traumatized by recent airport experiences, it seemed like a good idea at the time to drive down, since I was on the east coast anyway.

Big, as the Governator would say, mistake.

I hadn’t taken into account the incredible boredom, lack of radio stations playing anything other than country, religious programming, or talk radio; the insane traffic (special mentions: Cincinnati, the total worst, followed by Atlanta); or the mysterious fact that the weather would be sunny in the northern states and rainy in the south. I also discovered a whole new talent: getting lost, including twice in one day.

My Road Trip
By Suzy

Buffalo, NY: The little I saw of it had splendid Victorian houses, some of them bordering on mansions, in perfect condition and with beautiful paint jobs. They rivalled those in San Francisco. Have no idea why we don’t hear about the Buffalo Victorians. There are also some old fashioned slate sidewalks like those in my grandparents’ town near Rochester, New York, so I got a little dose of nostalgia, too.

Mars, Pennsylvania:: There is no life on Mars. Slept at the Motel Six and ate at Denny’s. Seriously. Beginning of the grease theme of the trip.

Ohio: The “O” is for Oh.My.God. It’s not the tiny, wedge-shaped state it appears to be. It’s the secretly huge state no-one tells you about. I spent almost a whole day driving through it. And half a lifetime in traffic on the road that bypasses Cincinnati, going 5 mph.

West Virginia:: Whipped through it in no time. Smaller than you’d think.

Nowhereville, Kentucky: Pizza Hut (first time in my life), and a Hampton Inn, which seemed much classier than the Motel 6 until I discovered that it’s owned by the Hiltons, which means that I personally have subsidized Paris Hilton’s embarrassing fashion choices. At least I haven’t subsidized her embarrassing choice in men. I picked Pizza Hut after fleeing in horror from the buffet restaurant, which was like Deliverance with children. Also, buffet. If I’m in a restaurant, I want them to bring me the food. Is that too much to ask? I didn’t entirely escape the buffet, though, because PH had a salad bar, which is a thinly disguised buffet.

However, it seemed refreshingly healthy after all the road food. I’ve driven through 5 states now, and it’s all Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Burger King – the unholy trinity. This being the South, though, the unholiness was offset by a barn with a giant red hand-painted JESUS on it, and billboards that said:

If you died today (fun thought when you’re going 80 on the interstate), where would you spend Eternity?

Followed by:

Hell is Real.

No positive suggestions, like “Heaven is Real”, or anything like that.

On the other hand, they have a point, because driving on the interstate (or anywhere else) is Hell, and it’s all too Real.

Discovered that Richmond, KY is dry on one side, and wet on the other, meaning you can only buy booze – a total necessity at this point – on the bad side of town. Also that the stores stock an astonishing variety of chewing tobacco.

Oh, and Elvis was right about the cold Kentucky rain.

Nowhereville, Tennessee: At a gas station, I had to make the attendant tell me the price 3 times because he had so few teeth I couldn’t understand him. However, gas station had theme shot glasses, with slogans like, “Don’t Mess With Dixie” and “American By Birth, Southern By the Grace of God”, and sold 190 proof liquor to go with them.

Stopped at Subway, desperate for non-greasy food, and it took 3 people to make me a salad. The person taking the order didn’t know what I was talking about, and I pointed at the price list with the salads listed. She asked me what kind of bread. I was like, No, a salad, just put it in the bowl. She had to go get the manager. Then they had to find the bowls. Then they went & looked for the salad dressing, and found they didn’t have it. I’m not kidding.

Nowhereville, Georgia: Zipped merrily through Atlanta, but hit bad traffic outside of it, though it was still a joy compared to Cincinnati, the traffic capital of America. Super 8 motel (not noticeably twice as super as Motel 6), surprisingly decent Mexican food across from the Piggly Wiggly. Learned that the correct pronunciation of “pecan” is puh-CAHN and that grits are not gritty, but mushy. Billboards for boiled peanuts (haven’t tried them yet) and potential mothers-to-be (“Choose Life! Aren’t you glad your mother did?” and “Heartbeat at three weeks, brainwaves at six weeks”), along with the usual (“Eternity is a long time to spend in Hell” – the author doesn’t appear to realize that eternity is a long time to spend anywhere, hence calling it eternity) and the unusual (“Use Black Kow – 100% cow manure!”).

Finally Florida: It was like magic: all of a sudden, about half an hour after I crossed the Georgia/Florida border, it was 65&deg, then 70&deg, and finally, by the time I reached my destination, 74&deg. Slept about 12 hours that night and made myself a cup of French Roast in the morning – first decent coffee in 4 days. This is not a small thing for Me. The coffee on the road was as good as the dental hygiene.

Next: How to get lost twice in one day!

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Feb 03 2005

Finally Florida

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Warning to all residents of Florida: Tropical Storm Suzy has arrived. Appease with pink grapefruit juice and coconut shrimp and take cover….

With thanks to the wonderful & generous Cassie B for the cool script!

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