Archive for October, 2006

Oct 30 2006

Hotel Hell

Published by under Detroit,Dogs,Rita

The vending machine at Hotel Hell, consisting mostly of Kools and Newports

Honestly, can’t I leave y’all alone for a few days without all hell breaking loose? I notice none of you cleaned up or did your homework*, either. Next time, you’re getting a babysitter. I don’t care how old you are!

While you were raising hell, I was soaking in it.

A fairly huge error in judgment – and lack of local knowledge – led me to spending a memorable night in Hotel Hell. Thinking that I needed to be downtown in order to get to my 9 am meeting on time, I chose the only hotel which allowed the lovely Rita to accompany me. Little did I know what I was in for.

Arrived late in Detroit, as per usual, having been lost, as per usual, and stalled in traffic for over an hour, as per usual (for extra fun, the car started whining about its low fuel level while I was still stuck. That’s Halloween scary. Or as they call it in Detroit, Devil’s Night.) Found hotel, which was built in the 1920’s. The lobby retained vestiges of its former glamor, but the oddly assorted inhabitants didn’t. To give you an idea of the other guests, one of them informed me that he had lived there for a year, but it was better than being homeless (a few minutes later, I could have debated that point), and another was screaming “You fucking retard!” into his cell phone. Oh, and he had a tattoo of a spider on his face and neck. Yes, yes.

Braved the strange smell – something like old movie theater combined with despair and the reek of failure – to find the room. There was no lamp or overhead light in the room. I called the front desk in near darkness to inform them of this defect, and was asked if I was sure. To paraphrase AA Milne, either a lamp is there, or it isn’t, and I pointed this out to the clerk. She said I could try another room. This room only got one channel on the TV, and in looking for the remote (there wasn’t one), I discovered a half-eaten chocolate bar and “Destyni’s” phone number.

I didn’t call Destyni, though. I called the front desk again. She said that the cable had been turned off in some rooms, but she didn’t know which ones, and she was the only one on duty (for a 20 storey hotel!). However, the bellman(!), who came on duty at 11 pm, could tell me. I bet he could tell me which floors the hoes and crack were on, too. Finally, I moved to Room Three. There was cable, no remote, the usual strange smell (but windows I could and did open, resisting the urge to hurl myself out), a stain on the carpet approximately body-shaped, and as I closed the door, the front of one of the bureau drawers fell off. committing furniture suicide. I could hardly blame it. Rita was so horrified she hid all night, pretending she was somewhere else.

I called the Red Roof Inn, made a reservation for the following night, and poured myself a drink.

Nothing can scare me now. I spent a night in Hotel Hell and lived to tell the tale. Final irony: I had to give them a $100 deposit for Rita, so I’d keep the room, and I quote, “in tip-top shape.”

*Ah, Feasterville Trevose, my little enigma. Will nothing induce you to reveal your true identity? Are you millionaire Bruce Wayne of stately Wayne Manor? You can tell me.

5 responses so far

Oct 25 2006

Who Are You?

Published by under Uncategorized

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you!

While I’m away, why don’t you play? I’m curious about you readers. When I check out the locations of readers on sitemeter, I can identify friends and family, but some locations mystify me completely. Sutton Coldfield is where my late aunt used to live, but can that be the connection? And what about the deliciously named Feasterville Trevose, Pennsylvania? And what’s with all those Canadians?

Enquiring minds want to know!

5 responses so far

Oct 24 2006

Mo’ Motown

Published by under Detroit,Uncategorized


The Spirit of Detroit statue gets its very own Tigers shirt!

On my way tomorrow to the home of the Tigers and the fabulous Kathleen!

Wednesday: Spend all day getting there, getting lost, finding hotel.

Thursday: Meetings all day. Can I pay attention and be nice for 10 hours in a row while being all dressed up and pretending to be smart?! Dinner with Kathleen that evening (what a relief) either at TJ’s or somewhere we can watch the Tigers game.

Friday: Spend all day getting home, getting lost, etc.

Detroit seems to be my second home these days, so I feel justified in saying:


Though I couldn’t possibly pass this test. Yet.

3 responses so far

Oct 20 2006

Cops & Slobbers

Published by under Dogs,Rita,Uncategorized

Of my many bad habits (shopping when I can’t afford it; pathological laziness; trashy magazine addiction), the one that’s probably the easiest to change and should be, really soon, is my insane dogwalking attire, undoubtedly the snickering of the neighborhood. If I were a celebrity, that’s what I’d be wearing on the cover of a trashy magazine (I wonder if I’d still read them if I were in them?), with a huge headline like “Suzy’s Secret Heartbreak!”

In fact, it’s not heartbreak or drug addiction that leads to my odd clothing choices when I take Rita out in the morning. It’s a combination of morning stupor, lack of caffeine, and laziness. I just grab the first thing and head out the door.

Today’s crime against fashion was: pink pajama bottoms patterned with little white bows, white men’s v-neck t-shirt, cashmere coat, and kitten-heeled mules, worn with unbrushed hair jammed into a pony tail. Niiiice. Imagine my relief to discover that the cop giving a guy a parking ticket was a regular policeman and not from the Fashion Police. Rita the Slinky gave the cop the eye and he stopped in the middle of writing the ticket to pet her and admire her while I tried unsuccessfully to hide behind her willowy form. When she was bored with him, she kissed him on the nose and took off in search of the next smell.

My little Husky* Hussy.


All that medical crap just sucked the frivolity out of me, and I’ve pretty much spent the last week pondering my (possibly imminent) mortality and having such a raucous pity party that the neighbors threatened to call the police (not the fashion kind) if I didn’t keep my self-pity down to what my father used to call a dull roar.

In addition to the horrors I have already related, I had to endure an ultrasound. For those of you who have never been subjected to this, I will just say this: Stephen King couldn’t make this shit up. It was gruelling and gruesome in the extreme. Of all the medical intervention I have suffered (and I do mean suffered) the past two weeks, this was the total worst. Even the Pap Test and mammogram were more fun. Seriously. And that heart monitor thing was the good part.

Now I have to wait for the test results, and you know how patient I am at the best of times. I feel like I just took final exams. Only I hope my results aren’t, you know, final.

*Apparently Rita is part Siberian Husky, hence her aversion to the heat and extra-thick coat.

One response so far

Oct 11 2006

The Wire

Published by under Uncategorized


That’s me, all wired up like a suicide bomber, but a lot more nervous, since I’m not expecting Paradise and/or unlimited virgins at my disposal when I’m finished with this exercise (at noon tomorrow, aka not soon enough).

Yesterday, I went to the doctor for a check-up. I’d spent so much time (and money) dealing with my mental health that I had kind of neglected the physical part. That’s why I ended up with the Sadistic Schedule of a Mashing Mammogram and a Pernicious Pap Test within the space of a week. So the worst I was expecting was the horror of public transit to get there and the poking and prodding to be endured upon arrival.

However, my doctor noted “a couple of irregularities” in my heartbeat, so her technician wired me up. The wires are attached to a box type thing that is attached in turn to whatever stylish outfit I happen to be wearing. It even gets to sleep with me, the lucky thing. Once the 48 hours are up, I have to bring Self and cardiac accessories back to the doctor. They’ll send it to be read somewhere, which takes two weeks (aka not soon enough).

And I thought my heart was my least vulnerable spot.

4 responses so far

Oct 09 2006

(Too) Close Encounters

Published by under Dogs,Rita,Uncategorized

I think I interrupted a close encounter of the commercial kind last night.

Sometimes when I take the Lovely Rita out for a quick pee, we go to the alley behind the building between us and the halfway house. Last night, we strolled there, and I heard an apparently disembodied voice say, “We’re just talkin’ here.”

I looked around, and a door of one of the parked and (I had assumed) unpopulated cars opened. The guy in the car noticed Rita, as people do, and started telling me a story about his own German Shepherd, who had, according to him, been senselessly shot by his neighbor when the dog was 19. Further, the purported slayer had wrapped the victim’s body in a carpet and thrown it down a well, where it wasn’t discovered for three weeks.

This kind of anecdote is hard to cope with politely at the best of times, let alone when a much younger bleached blonde (the “We’re just talkin’ here” voice) is in the car with the teller of the tale, adding her own comments which had nothing to do with the sorry saga in progress. Of course, Rita was off exploring in the bushes and couldn’t be reached. Finally, she emerged from her epic sniffathon and I bailed as politely as possible.

I had noticed that there were previously enjoyed condoms from time to time in that lane (always colored ones, so someone was feeling festive). I told my sister about it once, and of course she trumped me. She was babysitting a friend’s kid and took her to the park in San Francisco. She turned around to discover that the child was happily filling a condom with sand from the sandbox.

This is probably why my sis always has hand santitizer on hand.

2 responses so far

Oct 06 2006

Travels with Dad: August, 1991 (Part 4)

Published by under Uncategorized

Wednesday, August 21, 1991

Sunny & warm. Heard on the BBC World Service that the conspirators to overthrow Gorbachev were fleeing Russia, so the coup must be almost over. Still no news about Gorbachev; Yeltsin has asked Margaret Thatcher to go to the Crimea to see how he is doing!

Spent most of the day trying to make plane and hotel reservations for Paris. Managed to make hotel reservations near Place Clichy for ?30/night, but the computers are down at Trailfinders [the travel agency Dad & Margaret always used], so we must try again tomorrow. I would love to go to Paris again!

In the evening, drove to the Royal Albert Hall for the Proms. I understand that “proms” used to mean promenades, and that people would stand around in front of the orchestra without chairs. In fact, some people were actually lying on the floor! Others sat by a flower-festooned fountain.

The stage was massed with yellow flowers. We had a lovely box – one of the red-coated attendants had to unlock the door for us! For Dad and me, it was the first time we had been inside Victoria’s memorial to her beloved Albert. It is mostly red & gilt & marble and being circular, quite interesting and imposing. We all enjoyed the Haydn and Brahms but were barely able to tolerate the dissonant Russian songs in between.

Dad and Margaret had smuggled in a bottle of bordeaux for the intermission, rather than pay the exorbitant prices at the bar. I love it that they sneaked it in (without telling me)!

Drove home with the sunroof open through the lit streets. London is so exciting at night.

Had the tail end of the Killawarra cabernet sauvignon with cheese, crackers, and fresh blackberries under the stars in the garden. When we went to bed, Dad said, “Goodnight, princess.”

Thursday, August 22, 1991

Dad & Margaret decided at breakfast that I looked like the girl behind the bar in that famous Manet painting. Very flattering! [I think now it was the way I wore my hair that day and being pre-caffeinated.]

Margaret managed to book a flight for me to Paris. She just called Trailfinders starting at 8:55 am and kept hitting the redial button until they answered. She is nothing if not determined.

Visited the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery. It was tremendously crowded as it had just opened, but is a very beautiful building and the perfect setting for the artworks it houses. I can’t help but feel that this, rather than children, is the immortality I would choose – to have an art gallery carry on one’s name!

I tend to tire quickly of Madonnas and saints [being in Italy for 3 months in 1984 pretty much cured me for life], but I did admire the fact that these paintings had survived 500-700 years. The colors still glowed. It was interesting to see when & how perspective and foreshortening began.

I loved Alessio Badovinetti’s striking Portrait of a Young Lady in Yellow. There were a pair of portraits by Robert Campin, of a lovely young woman and her much older husband. The woman (or girl) seems resigned but calm, as if she understands there is an agreement between her youth and his financial security. Part of that security would be having a husband who could afford to have portraits painted. I wonder if they could have imagined that they would still be admired more than 500 years later?!

Next stop: Paris!

2 responses so far

Oct 03 2006

Lady In Waiting

Published by under Dogs,Rita,Uncategorized


Rita wonders if I’ll ever come home.

Now that I’m back:

The Good:

Rita!!! She was so happy to see me! No-one makes you feel more welcome and wonderful than your dog jumping around you for joy and kissing you wherever she can.

Charlie and his friends spoiled her. Apparently, she had grown used to in-room massages in my absence, as well as hanging out with the guys. There were empty pizza boxes and beer cans in the recycling box, since they hung out at my place part of the time so Rita would know it was still her house and I would eventually come back. The guys did a few handyman things for me in my absence, too. There aren’t too many babysitters who also do unsolicited and unpaid chores. Now, that’s a girl’s fantasy of the perfect babysitter, though probably not a guy’s.

Rita had already received her daily ration of admiration by the time I got home. A girl jogging by as Charlie took Rita for a walk puffed out, “She’s – so – beautiful!” as she ran past.

The Bad:

There were no fewer than three break-ins in the building in my absence. One was the new-ish upstairs neighbors, who had both their laptops stolen, the second the feckless girl whose possibly pregnant cat got stuck in the freight elevator, and the third was someone I don’t know. The first two are a little too close for comfort, especially since my “office” is a desk in the kitchen, facing the front door, which I frequently leave open if I’m working or cooking. Those days are over. Good thing I have a dog. Better get a better lock, though.

The Ugly:

The Cruel Crushing Cold continues to torture me and keep the folks at Kleenex in business. Apparently, my sinuses are the cold version of a rent-controlled penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park: too good to leave.

As if that wasn’t enough, I am also suffering (and I do mean suffering) that unmistakable and unbearable reminder that (wo)menopause has once again passed me by. This ordeal seems to worsen with every month, and after 30 years of it, I’m done with it. Unsurprisingly, the alternative is at least as bad, as not worse. Being a woman ain’t for the weak.

I must have a secret masochistic streak, since I kicked off the week with a Monday mammogram* and have a check-up, including the always-delightful Pap test, scheduled for next week.

Why they can’t come up with a better diagnostic method than squashing your assets (and is worse to be a girl whose cups overfloweth, like me, or one who doesn’t and would presumably have to be mushed harder?) into agonized mush? Also am convinced that said squashing only helps gravity in its evil purpose.

There should be some kind of soft, comfy bra that you simply place your boobs into and voil?! Diagnosis! If men had to endure this, they wouldn’t have wasted all that money on the space program and dealt with this far more compelling problem a long time ago.

Other uses for science: some kind of electronic fence that won’t let in mosquitoes and other unpleasant bugs, but still allows birds and butterflies; teleportation, even though my brother is convinced that you might end up in the wrong place with all the wrong pieces.

*At 8 am! But why be any more conscious than you absolutely have to be?

4 responses so far