Farewell for Now

Samsonite Fashionaire for the Fashionista

It’s 6 am! Why am I up? It’s because my brother is picking me up bright and early (well, early) to do a few errands and then go back to his place and my sister’s on the beautiful Mendocino coast. Carpooling there and taking the bus back makes me feel so greenly smug! Also I get to use my fabulous Samsonite Marimekko luggage, which is almost as old and charming as I am.

I’ll be computer-less and email-less until I get back. But don’t feel too sorry for me. It’s not only Thanksgiving, it’s Dungeness Crab season. There’s a farmer’s market on Friday, and there will be long walks in the redwoods and long talks by the fire.

In the meantime, Merry Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good pie (my sister is making three: pumpkin, apple, and huckleberry)!

The Bachelor

There’s nothing like a Jessica post to get people talking! JFans will be delighted to hear that I’ll be seeing her (and, oh yes, her mother, too) at Thanksgiving, so I’ll almost certainly have more tales to tell. Note to Self: don’t forget to wear that necklace she likes.

For the Henry fans among you (and you know who you are), here are a few visual aids:

Not the paparazzi again. I’m trying to nap.

Man with a mission: Henry on his way to breakfast.

Room service: breakfast in Henry’s bachelor pad under the back porch.

Buses, Bullies & Boys (Oh My)

Jessica may only be five years old, but she’s already learning about boys. And girls.

She changed her top while a friend was visiting, confidently predicting that when he saw the wardrobe change, “he’s gonna be all, like, whoa“. No girl over the age of five reading this will be surprised to hear that not only did he not say “whoa”, he didn’t even notice. Better get used to it, kid.

At school, Jessica has discovered that girls can be mean. I thought Mean Girls syndrome didn’t start until high school, or at least junior high. Kindergarten seems kind of young to me, but I’m behind the elementary school times. A girl cut in front of her in line, and Jessica naturally objected. Mean Girl refused to get behind Jessica, and Jessica refused to back down. Things escalated, and Mean Girl threatened to tell the teacher.

Jessica, realizing that Mean Girl wouldn’t actually dare to tell the teacher, since she’d have to admit she started it, immediately responded, “Go ahead. Be my guest.”

Clearly, this was not the way things were expected to go, so Mean Girl, having no Plan B or comeback (though undoubtedly she thought of one long after she got home and it was too late to use it) gave up and got in line.

The next time I need some advice, I know who to ask. A girl who can handle school buses and bullies with equal aplomb will know just what to do.

Sturm und Drang

Last night, in the dark hours between moonset and sunrise, I was awakened by the unmistakable sound of cats fighting. Fearing for Henry, I peered into the darkness. I couldn’t see a thing. Unsettled, I went back to bed and read the new Michael Connelly until I felt ready to sleep again.

I woke up a couple of hours later with the wind howling. Palm leaves rattled, the windows shook in their 85 year old wooden frames. Going out to pick up the newspaper, I expected to be greeted by a full-blown winter storm. I was amazed to see the clear blue sky, the horizon an opalescent pink. It was as balmy as a summer day. The newspaper had blown across the street.

Paper in hand, I went to check on Henry. He came running out to meet me, saying good morning and leading me to his bowls. The water dish was full of dirt, and the little tent I got him to shelter in when it rains was collapsed against the fence instead of under the porch. Its faux sheepskin lining was nowhere to be seen.

On closer examination, the tent had deep bite and claw marks in the fabric, and was either blood- or dirt-stained. Henry, however, appears to be unscathed, and happily ate his breakfast as if nothing had happened. You should see the other guy, he seemed to be saying.


If I must have a cell phone, why can’t it be this one, with more than three carats of diamonds? And a handy little mini version that clips to one’s handbag, to avoid the annoyance of digging through all that money, lipsticks, boys’ phone numbers, etc., to find the ringing phone. Especially good post-manicure!

Priced around $25,000, this is definitely a Covet.

Who needs an iPhone when you can have a Dior phone?

Speaking of phones, my older, humbler one finally turned up somewhere in LAX. I got a call from TSA telling me they’d found it a couple of days ago. Wonder what it was up to during the past month? Since I already had a new (and cuter) phone, I decided to donate it.


The local librarians have begun to comment on how fast I read and how much. I picked up the most recent bounty, and the librarian asked me if I wanted all five books at once, and pointed out that I had just taken three out (which, to be fair, I had just returned).

When I was a kid in Maine, one of the privileges of being a lab kid was being able to take out as many books from the beautiful library as we wanted (other than the new ones, which were as limited to us as anyone else). That place was heaven on earth to me. I loved stepping through the double doors to the marble flooored foyer, and from there, into the library itself, with its glorious gallery above, and…all…those…books.

In that twilight place, no matter how the sun blazed outside, I met Mr. Shaw. Mr. Fitzgerald. Mr. Hemingway. Mssrs Chandler and Hammett. Miss Plath. Mssrs Zola, Baudelaire, de Montaigne. Misses Bronte. The Divine Jane. Mr. King. There was no end to the discoveries, the worlds that opened to me.

But the new ones were of less interest to me than the past.

In those days, I was discovering the incomparable E. Nesbit, Edward Eager, C.S. Lewis, E.L. Konigsberg, Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Of course, the worlds of A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, Kenneth Grahame, and John Masefield were already well known to and loved by me, and on my bookshelves (built by Dad* at home), but on occasion, then as now, a desire to read certain books and passages would overcome me, and I’d have the freedom to check them out and revel again, or restore my spirit, in the beautiful, familiar prose.

*Dad was streamed into Classics as a boy, but being tone deaf, was a terrible singer. His music master sent him to learn carpentry to spare his own aesthetic sense, and undoubtedly, those of Dad’s classmates. By the time the school figured it out, it was too late. And Dad built bookshelves in every house we ever lived in, including his last home with our beloved stepmother.

Mixed Emotions

You all know I can find the cloud in every silver lining, so you probably won’t be surprised to learn that my emotions on the recent election are far from unmixed. Although I’m thrilled that Mr. Obama was elected (and to be a witness to history in the making), I’m equally disappointed that nearly half of my fellow Americans voted for John McCain. As Iggy Pop would say, what the hell? What the heck?

I’m also appalled that Proposition 8 passed. I am so disgusted with my fellow Californians for passing a law of intolerance and hatred. Shouldn’t the new Obama day usher in an era of tolerance and unity?

D Day

I can’t believe the day is finally here. I feel like a bride who has been planning a huge, elaborate ceremony for more than two years, and now the day has finally come that will change my life forever. It seems slightly unreal.

My wise friend Mike suggested that I write about my voting experience on this historic day. The problem is that I voted by mail weeks ago, so I don’t have a good story about valiantly waiting in line for hours in the rain (probably the best I can do is the anecdote about the Neil Young ticket). I don’t know why everyone doesn’t just mail in their ballots, to tell you the truth. So much easier, and more importantly in Suzy world, less boring and time consuming.

Of course, having nothing to write about has never stopped me before.

I was encouraged by the line to vote at the church at the foot of my street this morning, and the many people at intersections throughout Oakland, urging people to vote no on the hateful Proposition 8, which seeks to outlaw marriage for gay couples, and yes on Proposition 2, which seeks humane conditions (such as being able to actually stand up) for all California farm animals. I can’t believe we need a law for that one. The girl brandishing her Proposition 2 sign outside the gym was accompanied by her aged and patient beagle.

In the days before I figured out that I could mail in my vote, I did stand in line, most memorably to vote for Bill Clinton the first time. It was a bright, sunny day, like today, and I voted at the church around the corner from my apartment on Jackson Street in San Francisco. I still recall the joy in my heart as I cast my ballot, the feeling of being high on hope as I walked the few blocks home, sure of a brighter future for this great country.

Today, I feel hope, too, but also fear in the wake of the last “election” and the intolerance and hatred inherent in some of the propositions that somehow made it on the ballot. But I can’t believe the majority of my fellow Americans can honestly think this country can stand another four years of the mismanagement that has brought us to the sorry place we’re in now.

No Reno

I meant to go to Reno this weekend. Not for the traditional divorce* (fun fact: the first Reno divorce was granted in 1906) or the traditional gambling (I may be the only person who’s been to Las Vegas and not gambled there), but for a little getaway. And to see the legendary Neil Young.

However…Saturday was dark, stormy and scary. As I write, it’s simply tipping it down, as my beloved stepmother used to say, and what tips down as rain here gets tipped down as snow there. With the reports of accidents, threats of road closures, and the memory of my things and stuff being stuck in the Reno snow for days last year, I decided to stay home, pet the kitties, and finish reading The Suspicions of Mr Whicher instead.

However…I still had that Neil Young ticket, and if I couldn’t bask in his glory, someone else should. I posted it on Craigslist without much hope, since it was the day of the event. About three that afternoon, the phone rang.

It was a young man from Santa Cruz, who was canvassing for Obama in Carson City, Nevada. This dedicated guy has done this every weekend for the past six weeks, driving all the way from Santa Cruz to Nevada, after working all week at his regular job.

Last night, he heard about the Neil Young show and had been desperately seeking tickets ever since. He was overcome with happiness at getting mine. I emailed it to him, he paid me via PayPal, and everyone was happy. I don’t know which of us was happier, to tell you the truth. I was so glad to be able to thank him for the great work he was doing, and knowing he would enjoy the show after a long, hard day of canvassing.

*John sent me the paperwork last week. It had been rejected by the courthouse clerk, but she wouldn’t say why. My boss, who has a law degree, and I looked through it all and found a couple of places we hadn’t signed and a couple of missing dates. So we fixed that, and John’s going to try again to file. Maybe a Reno divorce would have been easier!