Archive for the 'Calamity Suzy' Category

Sep 01 2014

New Kid in Town

Published by under Calamity Suzy,Country Life,Dogs

Happy Labor Day, y’all! I am celebrating by doing as little as possible, whereas for my hard-working sibs, it’s business as usual. There are no holidays for emergency services*.

I did get back to work at the jobette on Saturday, though. I was careful of my back, and let my co-workers know that hauling around 30 pound boxes of visitor guides is out of the question for at least a week. While I was couch bound, I was touched by all the sweet and caring emails from my colleagues. My favorite was the one which read simply, “Drugs help.”

It seemed like a pretty long day, and I wondered if drugs, in addition to helping, stay in your system for a while. Though I hadn’t taken any in more than 24 hours, I still felt more out of it than usual.

When I finally got home from the jobette, I was greeted by Luna as usual, but also by a miniature Luna. I dropped my things on the driveway in surprise, wondering if it was the drugs, but it turned out to be a puppy! Mark had adopted a sweet little girl named Lupe:

Needless to say, I wasted no time in picking up Lupe and cuddling her, which I have done every time I have seen her since, despite the very scented flea collar she sports. It smells a lot like Old Spice, combining the snuggly, wiggly puppy experience with Old Guy fragrance.

She is super happy and adorable. Luna seems to enjoy teaching Lupe how to be a patrol dog, and I’m glad to know there will be two sentinels keeping the monsters at bay as Lupe grows up. She does need to learn about the cat flap, though:

*On the bright side, we can finally have Christmas on Christmas Day this year, since it falls on a Thursday. Yay!

2 responses so far

Aug 28 2014

On & Off the Couch

Published by under Calamity Suzy,Country Life,House,TV

Today I felt improved enough to venture a couple of miles down the Ridge to look for a new (to me) doorknob for the other door in the bathroom. You may recall that after buying the new door and accessories, it became painfully obvious that the cheapo knob on the cheapo hollow core door would have to go.

My back did not enjoy jouncing down the dirt driveway or the dirt road leading to my neighbor’s place:

I ignored it, though, and looked through boxes of vintage doorknobs and faceplates before narrowing it down to three finalists, and finally the winner:

I knew I wouldn’t find a match, but I did find one in the same kind of tone and with a taper, so I think they will work well together. The new knob got the Rob seal of approval, too. Currently we are planning to paint the now blue door shiny black, which should look great with the black and white floor tiles. I think Rob is also going to paint the bathroom white after mudding in the wall next to the new door. It’s going to look great.

When I got back home, I put on the heating pad and then applied Glam Glow’s Thirsty Mud mask and Bright Mud eye treatment while enjoying the soap operatic antics on Nashville. The best line of the season has to be Juliette Barnes saying, “I guess nice just ain’t my color.”

One response so far

Aug 27 2014

The Couch Report

Published by under Calamity Suzy,Cats,TV

I’m still on the couch, but I’m getting better. The Magic 8 Ball and I are both pretty confident that I’ll be able to go back to work at the jobette on Saturday. I’m all set up, with pills and water close at hand, along with phone and TV remotes, all the better to watch Daria with, my pretty. It occurs to me that Erica is much like Jane Lane. Also, is it wrong that I have a crush on Trent? I mean, he’s a lot younger than I am. Also, he’s a cartoon, so our relationship is probably doomed.


From my vantage point on the couch, it has come to my attention that Yellow Cat seems to think that he is now a semi-regular member of the cast, rather than a cameo as I thought. My lack of mobility has impeded the shooing process, but I have twice ejected him from the studio, where he was chowing down on cat chow with an air of entitlement that I found disturbing. I also caught him peeking in the living room door, and he didn’t leave until I levered Self off the couch, tossed the blanket aside, found my sandals, and lumbered out into the garden, carefully avoiding the construction materials spread around in order to avoid yet another Calamity Suzy episode. Later, he was hanging out in the sun by the new tree, and I’m sorry to report that I turned the hose on him, Grinch Girl that I am.

I never thought I’d be the kind of mean old lady who soaks neighboring cats, but he started it by fighting with my cats. Fortunately, they seem to run into the house and avoid YC as much as possible, so even if he is here eating all their food, he isn’t clawing them to pieces, so maybe this is the compromise we’ll all have to live with. And you know what a compromise means, kids: it means nobody’s happy.

On the bright side, the cats have been keeping me company in my time of need. Clyde has been multitasking by keeping me company while simultaneously napping:

Roscoe took advantage of my relative immobility and flexeril induced carefree attitude to get a drink on the counter, which is normally forbidden territory:

Sometimes a guy just needs a drink.

Meanwhile, outside, Audrey was keeping an eye out for Yellow Cat and any other would-be intruders:

Who needs locks for their doors when they have Audrey and The Glare of Death to keep trespassers at bay? Except of course for Rob, who brought me frozen pizza and ice cream and worked a bit on my bathroom, keeping the invalid company. Even Audrey loves Rob.

2 responses so far

Aug 25 2014


Published by under Calamity Suzy,Garden

I am marooned on my couch, hanging out with the lower back pain that showed up like an uninvited guest around dinner time yesterday and has refused to leave ever since. I have texted my boss at the jobette to let her know that I am not coming to work, and Megan to let her know that I have somehow damaged Self and could use some first aid after she caffeinates.

I’m not sure how I managed to do this, unless it was my unwise attempt to carry the outdoor table upstairs and onto the balcony. The plan was foiled by physics, since the curviness of the roof means that neither the glass door nor the screen door can be pushed back far enough to inveigle the table through the balcony door.

I puzzled ’til my puzzler was sore and Rob showed up. He assessed the situation and opined that making a pulley out of ropes and hauling it up that way was the way to go. Then he took the problematic table back downstairs.

He had not come over to solve my furniture problems or even work on the bathroom, but rather to bring me a tree.

Yes, a tree.

Ever since I moved up here, Rob and Megan have been planning to give me some trees in preparation for moving over to the family property. The trees are planted in giant containers owing to the poor quality of the soil around here, making them hard to move, especially if their roots have grown through the container.

But when there’s a Rob, there’s a way, and now there is a big green Japanese maple (complete with mini helicopters and Clyde on the right):

right near my medium red Japanese maple:

Rob says that the tree will be traumatized, since he had to cut some of the roots to move it, and that I should water it carefully. I hope it survives its transplant and will be happy here.

I haven’t done anything in the garden this year because of the drought. The beds by the shed in the front of the house are empty, and other than replacing the geraniums which were killed in the frost in December, I’ve just been trying to maintain what I have and try not to feel guilty about watering once or twice a week. So far so good as far as the well goes – let’s hope it keeps going well!

2 responses so far

Jan 12 2014

Slow Progress

Published by under Calamity Suzy,Cats,TV

Cuddling Cats

Yesterday, I woke up to the delightful and unfamiliar sound of rain on my curved roof. I knew it wasn’t enough to banish the drought which was recently declared in our County, but I enjoyed the sound. We got half an inch, but now we’re back to sunny skies (or clear, or fair – what’s the difference?) with a faint chance of rain on Friday at the earliest.

As for me, I’m better, but still tired, coughing, and using enough Kleenex to make me wish I’d bought stock in the company. Is it insider trading if you know you’ll be using the product by the gross for an extended period of time? Come to think of it, that’s probably the definition of insider trading.

Anyway, I’m sick of being sick and disappointed that I’m not completely better after more than a week. Of course, I’m still well enough to work, just not to do anything fun. Megan and I were planning to see a live broadcast of the National Theatre’s production of “Frankenstein” at the beautiful Arena Theater on Saturday, but we both reluctantly agreed that I wasn’t well enough. I really wanted to see it – it stars the delightfully named Benedict Cumberbatch, also the shining star of the BBC’s stellar series Sherlock* – not to mention the proximity of Franny’s of the magic coffee and cuteness.

But cooler heads prevailed, and I ended up watching the trashy soap operatics of Reign** (picture an even less historically accurate The Tudors crossed with the frothy, costumed delights of Gossip Girl) with the cats. Above you can see a non-great picture I took with my iPhone***. That’s Roscoe in the back. The boys hardly ever cuddle, so it was a nice treat.

*It’s finally back! And I’m not the only one who’s excited.

**I am officially old. Megan Follows, who played Anne in the “Anne of Green Gables” series, plays a wicked queen with a teenaged son in “Reign”. How did that happen?

**Which has yet to ruin my life.

2 responses so far

Jan 08 2014


Published by under Calamity Suzy,Weather

I started the new year with a new Me! A sick Me! Not an improvement over the old Me.

I get sick so rarely that when I do, I am sort of offended, disappointed that my vintage body is letting me down. I should probably get used to that instead of experiencing the usual dismay and consternation. I am convinced that I picked up this flu in the mall, where I made an unaccustomed visit during my most recent Bay Area trip.

I am now completely unused to malls, and when I go into one, I am immediately overwhelmed and appalled by the tidal waves of perfumes and people. My mind also immediately goes on hold and I forget why I’m there, gazing around me in a daze at how huge the place is and how packed with people and stuff. How is this possible? What did I want to buy? What’s that thing?

At the Whole Foods, I nearly lost what little is left of my mind while trying to buy something for dinner. You’d think it would be pretty simple to just take a number and order some food to go, but it was a free for all in the style of an Italian bank. I was practically whimpering by the time I got out of there. I think it’s fair to say that the bumpkinization process is now complete.

I hadn’t realized that a flu bug hitched a ride home with me until last Friday, when I began to suspect that something was wrong. On Saturday, I woke up with chills, fever, achiness, coughing, etc. and emailed my boss at the jobette to say I wouldn’t be in on Monday. Later I extended it to Tuesday, and although I’m at the jobette today, I still feel under the weather.

Speaking of weather: I woke up to a sprinkle of welcome rain. Just enough to make the road slippery and ruin one’s hairdo, but not enough to help the drought. My county just declared a state of emergency. I guess it’s better than the extreme cold and snow people have been facing back East, but it’s scary nonetheless. Here’s hoping both health and weather improve soon!

One response so far

Dec 06 2013


Published by under Calamity Suzy,Car

The insurance adjustor checked out Miss Scarlett yesterday, and as we expected, the news was not good.

The repairs needed to get her back on the road again exceeded her current street value, so they declared her a total loss. The adjustor asked if I could remove my personal items* from the car so they could tow it away, and even though it was the last thing I wanted to do, I got in The Beater and headed for the Big Town.

On the long and noisy drive, I wondered if I am supposed to learn something from all this, and if so, what it is. Everyone around me seems to feel that these things are just random events and that’s the way life is, but I’m not so sure. I wish I knew what, if anything, the lesson is. I’ve certainly been pushed outside my comfort zone, driving The Monster and The Beater. I’m grateful for the support of my family and even the kindness of the insurance folks.

When I spoke to the claims representative, just about the first thing she asked was whether I had been hurt, another car involved, the police, or the hospital, and when my answer to all of these things was no, she said that in that case, it was as good as it could be, and she was right. I’m glad that I wasn’t hurt and that I didn’t hurt anyone, and that I was able to get the car off the road. But I’m very anxious about the cost of another car, not to mention the hassle of finding one. I’ll almost certainly have to go to the Bay Area or Sacramento to find something. Also I’ve never had a car note in my life. Maybe all this is some kind of life lesson.

*This was a surprisingly upsetting experience. I have to admit that I patted her gently and gave her a little kiss goodbye. We’ve had a lot of adventures together, and I miss her already. I had to sit in The Beater and sob a little bit before I could move on.

4 responses so far

Mar 02 2013

Technical Difficulties

Published by under Calamity Suzy,Family

The other day, I got up early, and reheated some leftover coffee instead of making new coffee. I know this unsavory practice horrifies many of you, and I will blame it on early indoctrination never to waste anything. When your father has been through World War II as a child and teenager, his experiences are passed on to you (sleeping in utter darkness; a horror of wasting food). Especially since he’s not here to say it’s just his daughter being a cheapskate. After all, he didn’t turn the heat off at night.

The leftover coffee proved to be insufficient to jumpstart my cold, dark heart, so I went to make more.

However, the coffee grinder did not agree with me. It had worked fine the day before – hence, the leftover coffee – but refused to budge this particular morning. I tried it in a couple of other outlets, to no avail.

I knew there was coffee at Megan’s house (and I learned later that there was actually pre-ground coffee* there – a rarity), but there was no way I was going to set off the Star alarm and wake up my seriously sleep-deprived sister. What to do?

It was Thursday morning, and I recently re-reinstated the Thursday night dinner tradition. My brother has fire training on Thursday nights, so it’s nice for him to come home to dinner already made, and Thursday marks the end of my sister’s long night shifts.

I packed up the chili I had made, some coffee beans, the errant grinder (in case my mechanically-minded brother could figure out what was wrong with it), and set off for my brother’s place. The gate was locked, and when I got to his place, I could see his car was gone. I went inside, put the chili in the refrigerator, wrote him a note, and went to grind the coffee.

Guess what? I couldn’t make his grinder work, either. I spent a few minutes struggling with the recalcitrant appliance, again trying different outlets, and finally gave up. I poured the remnants of his coffee into some Tupperware and went home.

When I got there, I discovered that the Tupperware had leaked into the shopping bag it was in and through it into the upholstery, which I had just had cleaned at the awesome car wash in San Francisco.

Thoughts were unprintable at that moment, but at least there was enough coffee still in the container to heat up again. Later, I got a coffee grinder at the hardware store, though on actually using it, I discovered that it is smaller than the old one, necessitating one and a half grinders’ worth for a pot of coffee, but I’m glad I have one that works. At least for now.

What is it with me and coffee appliances?!

*She bought a mocha at Starbucks and there was an incredibly good deal on a pound of pre-ground coffee to go with it. You never know when you – or your appliance-challenged sister – might need it.

3 responses so far

Aug 11 2012

How Not to Have Fun

Published by under Bullshit,Calamity Suzy,Work

  • Get up early on a non-jobette day and drive to the Big Town.
  • Get stuck behind lumbering RVs and smug Prius drivers who refuse to pull over, even when driving 20 miles below the speed limit. I wish I had a nickel for every time I got stuck behind a slow Prius driver – I could pay my staggering dental bill. I think they only use gas if they go over a certain speed, so maybe that’s why. Equally annoyed by non-Prius drivers who brake on every curve, when going onto a bridge, both up and down hill. Hear Billy Bob Thornoton’s voice in my head from “Tombstone”: “Nerve-wracking sons of bitches!”
  • Arrive at the dentist’s office in heavy fog to discover there is nowhere to park. Park two blocks away.
  • Spend 15 minutes getting permanent crown installed. Get reminded that you still owe more than $600 which must be paid off in the next two months.
  • Drive home. You have now spent nearly an hour and a half driving for a 15 minute appointment.
  • Check mail. Discover staggering dental bill to join last week’s jury summons and car registration notification. Note to Self: stop checking the mail. Nothing good ever comes of it.
  • Get home and check email. Find a message from your boss saying that your firm lost the contract with their only retainer client. This is not going to help pay off the dental bill. Or any other bill, for that matter.
  • Panic.

All this on the 7th anniversary of my mother’s death. On the bright side, though, I guess this means I don’t have to go to Detroit next week for that second Grand Jury subpoena, since the client in question is no longer a client. At this point, I think I’d tell them to come and get me, especially since I still haven’t received the expense reimbursement from the State Attorney’s office (which, come to think of it, would cover my dental bill).

Onward and downward, as my father used to say.

3 responses so far

May 19 2012


Published by under Calamity Suzy,Cats,Family,Memories

The guilty parties

I’m up earlier than I’d like. As usual. When I’d like: 8 am or so. When I am: anywhere from 4:30 to 6:00. If I don’t stop these bad habits, I will never attain my lifetime goal of idle rich. Also, a girl must surely need more beauty sleep as she gets older, not less.

The boys found a new and novel way to get me out of bed today (and more importantly, to get breakfast and then outside into the early morning sunshine). This one involved rolling around on top of my unsuspecting body, clawing and biting each other’s heads with accompanying sound effects.

At least I didn’t get a new bruise to add to my collection. The old one is still there, now turning yellow at the edges while retaining its alarming lumpiness. It’s about 6 inches long and three inches wide, with the power to frighten innocent passers-by and co-workers. At least it doesn’t hurt any more and will eventually vanish into the mists of time, unlike some of the other scars I still have:

  • The triangular one on top of my left hand. I got this one while ironing my father’s shirts when I was home from college. His mother taught me the proper Victorian way to iron his shirts, so when I was home, I’d iron them for him, usually while watching TV. I think it was an episode of “I Dream of Jeannie” which led to my being distracted enough to mistake my hand for his Ben Sherman shirt (which I now have).
  • The long, lumpy one at the base of my left thumb. For someone who’s right-handed, I seem to be unduly hard on my left hand. I broke a goldfish bowl in Megan’s room, again when I was home from college, and rescued the fish. I picked up the broken glass and it slipped. Instead of letting it go, I clutched at it and sliced open my hand to reveal its inner workings (there’s a reason why they hide all that stuff under our skin). I immediately turned into a six year old, yelling, “Mom!” She took me to the ER for several stitches, which surprised me by being black and wiry, and held my hand when they injected novocain into the wound.
  • Above my – yes, you guessed it, left – eye is a small wrinkle which I acquired while Mom in the hospital in the final months of her life. There is no tired like hospital tired. The little line mostly appears when I am tired at a normal level, but I notice it whenever I put on makeup and think of Mom. Accessorizing the line is a scar mostly hidden by my eyebrow, which comes from having a few glasses of wine too many after sharing Christmas dinner with Mom at the hospital and realizing there wouldn’t be any more to come.

    I lost my balance – which I am perfectly capable of doing with no alcohol involved – and hit my head on the open door of Megan’s desk. I was slightly stunned. Megan cleaned me up and called our brother. We still laugh about her calling him late at night and saying, “I’m drunk, but Suzy’s drunker, and she cut her head open.” He sighed and came over, and by his account, “When I opened the door, the smell of vomit wafted out.” In the meantime, Megan had butterflied my eyebrow together really well.

    Not my finest moment, but as usual, I was lucky to have my family there to rescue me. I think I threw up all the next morning. Merry Christmas!

  • The chicken pox scars on my legs. I had mumps twice, and I had chicken pox twice. Both poxes were memorable. The first time, I was 8 and my parents had taken us kids and Mom’s aging parents to England to visit Dad’s parents. On the way home, the flight was delayed at the airport for many hours. But that was the least of our parents’ worries – we had broken out in chicken pox that very morning. Mom was convinced that if the officials found out, we’d be forced to stay in England until we were healthy again. “Don’t you dare get any on your faces!” she said as we approached Customs. We didn’t, and after an overnight stay at Charlie Chaplin’s suite at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, we finally went home.

    The second time, I was 15 and spent hours lying in an Aveeno bath, complaining about the utter itchiness. Though I did get out of midterms.

Considering my ability to damage Self in nearly any circumstances, it’s somewhat surprising that I have never had major surgery, broken a limb (though I did break two fingers recently), and still retain my tonsils, appendix, and two of my wisdom teeth. I need all the help I can get.

4 responses so far

May 09 2012

Down and Dirty

Published by under Calamity Suzy,Family,Garden

In addition driving me crazy yesterday, Clyde also managed to get between me and the stairs, right before I left for work. I tripped down the last three steps, bruising my left forearm (and butt!) in a horrifying and lumpy manner, and doing something to my right foot which makes me a little limpish. But only when I walk.

Calamity Suzy rides (or falls) again!

Still, I think we can all agree that it’s an improvement over falling off the top of the stairs.

Today, my brother is going to stop by the jobette and pick up a tarp and random hunks of wood, which Rob brought over last night and stowed safely in Miss Scarlett’s capacious trunk. Why, you ask? Because my brother is going to pick up a truckload of dirt for me on the way home, and you have to cover it up and weight it down so your investment doesn’t end up flying all over the highway instead of making a comfortable home for your flowers. I’m looking forward to getting some things done in the garden over the next few days.

Hopefully I won’t fall off the truck while shoveling dirt. Stay tuned…

2 responses so far

Mar 28 2012

The Screwup

Published by under Calamity Suzy,Cats,Work

Maybe I need a reminding sculpture. Or a whole pad of neon Post Its. Or a personal assistant. Or a brain transplant! If Dick Cheyney can get a heart transplant, it just goes to show that you don’t have to have the original organ to get it replaced…

Lately, my brain has not been functioning at peak capacity. Or maybe this is peak capacity, and I’ll have to get used to it. The new normal: not fun.

This week has been less than fabulous. It’s been pouring, for one thing – I fully expect the Ridge to be flooded tonight or tomorrow – which is always depressing. And for another, I seem to be making one mistake after another.

I locked the keys in the car when I was at the jobette, far from home. This was mitigated by the fact that I knew I’d do something like that, so I already had an extra key sitting in my desk drawer, but still.

I bought the kitties a fifteen pound bag of cat food instead of a five pound bag, to minimize time and gas spent on going to the feed store. I bought a different flavor since I thought they’d be bored of the old one. Well, they seem to hate it. Even Clyde the Food Monster sniffed at it (in all three bowls) and walked away this morning, an unprecedented feat of disdain on his part. I’ll see if they have eaten any when I get home from work tonight. If they still hate it, I’ll buy the original flavor and sell the rejected bag to Megan, whose kitties are less picky than mine.

I was supposed to join a conference call today, and discovered that my cell phone battery was dead, so I couldn’t. My boss was not happy, and neither was I.

Worst of all, I worked all weekend on a proposal to provide services on behalf of my real job, only to discover that I had mistaken the due date. By the time my boss alerted me to the fact that the due date was Monday, not Tuesday, it was Monday night and officially too late.

I realize that he should have noticed the due date as well, but still…I feel pretty stupid right about now.

4 responses so far

Mar 03 2012


Published by under Calamity Suzy,Country Life,Family

One thing about being sick is that it gives you time to notice how your house is slowly descending into chaos around you. Dishes and laundry remained undone; dust and spiderwebs accrued at an alarming rate; gravel and pine needles drifted unchecked across the battered wooden floors.

I’d notice all this, and then just go back to bed and watch more mindless TV – surely the best thing about being sick.

Even though I was well enough to go to the jobette – and I worked four days this week, instead of my usual three – I still haven’t really addressed the Housework Situation. Maybe if I ignore it long enough, it will go away.

While the house was undoing its thing, other things happened.

I ordered and received a new coffeemaker. Online shopping is another activity that is suitable for the bedridden. In my weakened condition, it was even more annoying than usual to deal with the French press and its endless, messy grounds. So it was a necessity:

So was replacing my favorite lipgloss from Sephora, since the first day back at the jobette, I was shocked to discover that the tube was basically empty.

I’m never too sick to shop.

While I was shopping, Rob was fixing a hole (or two) in the laundry room/pantry/cat dining room (multi-purpose room?).

The one under the door (being inspected by Clyde):

And the one that was so useful during the great Booze Breakage of 2010:

The repaired door:

And the repaired drain:

We had a storm after the holes were repaired. I set the battery-powered alarm clock and made coffee the night before, just in case, but the power stayed on. In the morning, I realized that if the power had gone out, I couldn’t have used the generator. I used to thread the extension cord from the generator through the hole under the door and into the house, but now the hole (and its draftiness) are a thing of the past.

I mentioned this to Rob, and he is going to drill a hole in the wall near the generator for the extension cord. I’m hoping that we are past power outage season (I’m watching the first Spring Training baseball game between the Evil Empire and the Phillies, so the year has turned a corner), but we should still deal with it before storm season rolls around again.

One response so far

Feb 26 2012

Surprise Wedding

Wow – it’s a chilly one this morning, both inside (44F) and out (29F). Good thing I left the tap dripping – to the kitties’ delight – and brought the orchids inside. Still, I shouldn’t complain, considering that a year ago today, I woke up to a blanket of snow.

One thing I will complain about is how Le Bug has managed to totally de-rail my so-called life.

I had to take an entire week off from the jobette, and in my case, no work means no pay, which also means no play. I can’t afford to take more time off this week to go to the City and see the Cult of Beauty exhibit at the Legion of Honor and the Walker Evans exhibit at Stanford. Hopefully I can still go before the exhibits end. I’m really feeling the need for a dose of civilization lately.

Last week was one of surprising phone calls. There was the Rob surprise – the biggest of all – and the next day, a call from my neighbor Catrin (who is Rose’s younger daughter) to say that she and her boyfriend Zach were getting married. On Wednesday.

I figured this gave me at least two shopping days while in town at the jobette, but alas – I was too sick to shop, or drive, or work, or do anything other than drink ginger ale and cough. (I’m still coughing (or barking) and blowing my nose, by the way. I’m going to feel like Typhoid Mary at the jobette tomorrow.)

The wedding day dawned bright and sunny, and was in the 60s in the Hooterville and about 80 at the County seat, which is inland and also where the ceremony took place. The wedding party arrived at Mark and Citlali’s for the wedding party early in the evening, and I dragged my formerly fabulous self out of bed to go and congratulate the happy couple.

It occurred to me how lucky it was that they could have an outdoor party on a February evening, especially considering that it was snowy about a year before. But Catrin thought the date of 2/22/12 was a lucky one, especially since her mother’s birthday was the 22nd (of October), and I guess she was right.

Here are some pictures from the party:

Just married!

Balloons and streamers.

The table, with fresh-picked daffodils and votive candles.

The bouquet.

The bride and groom.

5 responses so far

Feb 24 2012

So Far…

Published by under Calamity Suzy

Well, Le Bug is making its majestic (and satanic) progress.

The chills and fever have abated, but the deep, wracking cough refuses to leave. Every time I breathe, the ripping lace sound and feeling is still there, and it’s been added to and amplified by a Philip Glass symphony of weird sounds. They are as annoying and hard to ignore as a particularly bad-tempered two year old, making it equally hard to sleep and sleep in.

The coughing is the worst part, though. My stomach is killing me from coughing so much. I feel like I’ve done a million crunches (I wonder if coughing is good for one’s abs?), and I wouldn’t be surprised if I re-broke the ribs I broke when they broke my fall a couple of years ago, or if I have broken capillaries in the whites of my eyes like a strangulation victim.

I sound like the sea lions at Pier 39. I used to be able to hear them from my first San Francisco apartment on Jackson Street, a few miles away. Now, they can probably hear me.

Frankly, all this coughing is way too much work.

Maybe it’s the coughing and its aftermath, or just Le Bug in general, but ever since it struck a week ago, I have had a complete and uncharacteristic lack of interest in both food and adult beverages. It’s been gallons of ginger ale and Oliver Twist-sized portions of canned soup, and that’s it. How sad is that?

Also? There appears to be no limit to the number of times you can blow your nose in one day. Just ask the red, raw, Sephora-defying remains of mine. If I’d known, I’d have bought stock* in Kleenex, Canada Dry, and Progresso before this thing started. I’d be rich enough to go and recover at the Golden Door.

*I recently learned that the average length of time a stock is held is now…24 SECONDS.

One response so far

Feb 22 2012

One of Them

Published by under Calamity Suzy,Family

Generally, we like to think that we are a little better than the common man. We aren’t the Ugly American tourists giving our great country a bad name. We aren’t tourists at all! We are citizens of the world. But sometimes, we have to face the fact that we are, in fact, the Ugly American tourist, fanny pack and all, speaking English loudly and slowly enough* for those silly foreigners to get it**.

Yesterday, I had to face the fact that I am One of Them.

One of the many, uh, challenges Megan faces at work in the ER is people who come in saying they’ve had back pain or whatever for a month, but they need treatment NOW. Yes, they’ve had it for weeks and could have gone to the clinic or seen their doctor, but instead chose to go to the Emergency Room at night and get in the way of traffic accident victims and people having babies or heart attacks.

The ER staff does not look kindly upon such individuals.

Yesterday, my fever and chills were so bad that I called Megan at work, thoughtfully placing the call about five minutes after her shift started. She calmed me down and said she’d tell Rob what to bring me.

Rob appeared with Tylenol with codeine (later, I noticed that it had been prescribed for one of my mother’s dogs, who died a couple of years ago), cough syrup, and ibuprophen. He also thoughtfully brought their coffeemaker, which he will repo later on today when Megan wakes up.

I took all these things and shiveringly watched “Pan Am” until Megan called to check up on me. This morning, I feel a little better – though not enough to go to work – and as I came downstairs, Megan arrived, bearing ginger ale and soup and hugs. I may be sick, but I’m still lucky.

*My father believed that there was absolutely no point in speaking a foreign language abroad unless you were fluent in it, since offering a word or two in the other person’s native language simply unleashed a flood of it which you couldn’t understand, thus creating a conversational impasse.

**I always loved that line in “Big Trouble in Little China” (filmed in San Francisco!) where James Hong says, “Shut up! You are not brought upon this world to get it! “

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Feb 21 2012

Le Bug

Published by under Calamity Suzy

Hot (or cold, depending) on the heels of Friday’s triumph came the flu from hell. It started off with a tickle in my throat, and then escalated into fits of the chills so bad that my teeth were chattering, followed by burning up with fever bad enough to sweat through my PJs. Add in a deep, wracking cough (you’d think I was the one smoking two packs a day), endless nose-blowing, and a strange sound like tearing lace every time I breathe, and you have a sick little Suzy on your hands.

The flu persisted through the weekend and into the work week. I can’t remember the last time I was this sick. My ribs and stomach ache from coughing, and not for the first time, I wish I could soak in a nice, hot bath. I have never missed my gracious San Francisco bathroom

quite so much as I have over the past few days.

I’m hoping to head back to the jobette tomorrow, but I fear that my much-anticipated trip to the City next week will have to be put off until later, since I can’t afford to miss two days this week and two days next week.

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Apr 16 2011


Published by under Calamity Suzy,Cats,Country Life

As I write, the air in my little hippie hovel is delicately scented with eau de skunk. So glamorous!

I woke up around 2:00 to the distinctive smell. I knew all the cats were in for the night, but wondered if an intruder had made his stripy, stinky way into my humble abode without any of us noticing. This seemed unlikely, but I got up and checked the house anyway. The smell was there, but Mr. Le Pew was not.

I went back to bed, and the Audrometer went off around 4:30. I didn’t want to let Audrey out into the darkness, in case the skunk was still there, so I meanly made her wait until 1) it was light out*; and b) I had checked the perimeter.

The good news is that the outside smelled like rain and fresh air, and the area appeared to be skunk-free. The bad news is that it’s too cold and wet to air out the house. So Roscoe and I are sitting by the heater in the stinkiness and hoping for sun, while Audrey and Clyde are playing in the woods somewhere. By the way, Clyde’s paw is much better.

Mine is not.

You may remember that I managed to fall off a log as my own special way of celebrating the new year. Well, that hand has never been the same. The middle finger and ring finger can’t straighten out, and they are oddly swollen and arthritis-y looking, which is painful for the aesthetically inclined. Also it makes it impossible to wear some of my favorite rings on my right hand. And amazingly, it still kind of hurts when I press on those fingers.

Megan thought at the time that I broke something in there, but I don’t have health insurance and can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars to have my fingers x-rayed and what have you. So I’ve just been living with it.

My left hand now temporarily matches my right hand. I made Jacques Pépin’s mustard-crusted chicken** the other night. When I took the skillet out of my little oven I used my very cute red potholders, and set it on top of the stove. Just a few minutes later, I grabbed the skillet handle with my left hand to move it, apparently having forgotten that it had just spent an hour in a 400 degree oven.

I let go pretty fast, let me tell you. I ran cold water over my hand for a while before calling Megan, who arrived with burn bandages and painkillers. The burn bandages look like a second skin and contain lidocaine or some other kind of surface pain deadener. She also lent me one of her ice packs from her knee surgery last summer, so I was all set for a bad night’s sleep.

Nothing like having EMS living on the premises. Practically a necessity when you’re Calamity Suzy.

*Stupid, stupid daylight savings time.
**A quick search of my archives reveals that I have never shared this recipe with you. Will remedy this shocking omission in the near future.

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Jan 24 2011


Published by under Calamity Suzy,San Francisco

It’s good that this year’s resolutions did not include any Calamity Suzy items, because the month isn’t over yet and I’ve already slightly damaged Self. In doing so, I proved, if there was any doubt to begin with, that the old adage is true.

It really is easy to fall off a log! Now you don’t have to try it yourself to see.

Megan and I were giving Schatzi a run on Saturday evening on an off-road path on the property. The path appears to be practically a highway for mountain lions, though, judging by the number of calling cards, and we wanted to get back to the car before darkness fell and rush hour began.

Part of the path devolved into fallen trees and bits of wood, and the only way across was balancing precariously on a fallen tree trunk. Needless to say, I only made it about halfway across befoore falling off said log, foolishly attempting to stave off the inevitable with my hand.

My fingers bent back horribly, and I spent a little time sitting on the log and swearing, no doubt scaring off the mountain lions.

Nothing was broken, but my fingers are now swollen and not too comfortable, and bruised across the knuckles. It looks like I punched Muhammed Ali, but actually I can’t clench my fingers enough to punch anyone. Same goes for actually straightening them out. I’ve been treating it with ibuprophen, that most pointless of panaceas, and an ice pack, which is almost as uncomfortable as the original injury.

Today, my Horror Hand and I are heading to the safety of the city (hence the theme change), where there are nice, even sidewalks to walk on and I can hopefully remain more or less upright despite being gravitationally challenged. I have some meetings but am hoping to fit in a movie or even two at the annual Noir City Festival. What’s the point of work without fun?

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Nov 18 2010

Past Imperfect

Published by under Calamity Suzy,San Francisco

Yes, these sneakers cost the same as my used Manolos

[Note: For some reason, I know not why, the comments have turned themselves off. The Doc is on it. In the meantime, email me at You’ll be glad you did.]

Guess what I did yesterday?

I bought a pair of sneakers!

That’s the sum total of my achievement.

And somehow, it took all day.

I took the bus downtown to buy new sneakers, or , as my father would say, plimsols. When I introduced my eternally fashionable stepmother to the concept of the sneaker, she tried them on and exclaimed with pleasure in her rich, plummy English accent, “They’re so gorgeously squashy!” She was a convert.

I, on the other hand, made the fatal error of buying cheap sneakers and wearing them for ~mumble~ years. They were no longer squashy, let alone gorgeously squashy. I leave that to my thighs. My feet finally rebelled after a long walk at Big River. My feet were still so sore the next day that I borrowed my sister’s Keens to wear to the city. Notice how Megan always has the right footwear and I never do.

The other mistake I made was my incorrect memory of where things are in the nebulous area south of Market Street. I got off the bus too early for my first stop, and had to walk for about 20 minutes to Ross in my unsuitable work shoes. At Ross, they didn’t have a thing I wanted. That’s the thing about Ross: they either have tons of things you want, or nothing.

Then I decided to walk to REI, which was also much further than I remembered. I spent over an hour trying on 5 pairs of shoes with the help of a very knowledgeable gentleman. He was horrified that I’d kept the same shoes for so long – apparently, 400-600 miles is the limit – and explained how my non-archy arches made my feet hurt. He was Russian and was an engineer at Apple down in Cupertino until they outsourced all the jobs to China and he was laid off.

So I spent $100 on sneakers for the first time in my life.

I wore them out of the store, thinking I could just grab a cab. Those of you who are wondering why I didn’t drive have never experienced the lack of parking in this compact city, or the exorbitant pricing of what parking there is. I thought public transit was a good idea. Shows what I know.

I couldn’t get a cab, and even wearing my new, gorgeously squashy sneakers, my feet hurt like hell. It took me 40 minutes and 0 cabs to get to Market Street, San Francisco’s Main Street. Surely, here I could get a cab.


Eventually, I called one. I waited 20 minutes, and it hadn’t appeared. I called back, and they said, “Oh, he must have picked up someone else. We’ll send another one.” He showed up in 10 minutes, and I had to stop myself from kissing him and offering to marry him. Arriving at my hotel, I discovered that the maid was still cleaning, even though the cleaning cart had been next door when I left four hours earlier and the manager had asked if I wanted the room cleaned before I left and I said yes.

I went to call Megan and tell her I’d be home tomorrow and get a status update on the cats, who don’t seem to miss me, while the maid finished up. When I went back to my room, the card key didn’t work. I went to the office to get a new one.

It was the imperfect end to an imperfect day.

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