2012 in Review

Farewell, 2012

It’s really fun going back and seeing what happened during the year, even if it wasn’t that great a year, like this one. Pay cuts and grand jury summons do not make for a good year. Hopefully the new one will also be improved.

Power outages: 6, including one in October due to someone driving into a power pole at 8:30 am – go figure – and two from a big storm in late November.

Rainfall: 24.20 inches for the season so far, vs. 11 inches this time last year.

Books read: 103 (vs. last year’s 118). Working more means reading less.

Favorites this year were Damien Echols’ astonishing, moving memoir, Life After Death; Gillian Flynn’s clever Gone Girl; William Landay’s surprising Defending Jacob; James M. Cain’s just-discovered final novel The Cocktail Waitress; Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins; and the beautifully written and moving Stoner (it’s not what you think).

Trips to San Francisco: 3. I went 4 times in 2011, but one of those was to keep Megan company while Rob endured more spinal surgery, so that doesn’t really count. I’m starting the new year off right by heading to San Francisco tomorrow morning for a few days to meet up with my boss/partner and make some plans for the future. And maybe do some shopping…

As for this year:

January: Hockey, Suzy-style. Little did I realize there wouldn’t be any when October arrived. Or December, for that matter. The case of the ransomed Christmas cards. Ordeal by utility company. Technological difficulties. Why I’m here. Outs & ins. One man’s trash…an unexpected visitor.

February: Cops and a movie! Third power outage of the season. Musing about one grandfather…and another. Coffee break. Finally, a break for Rob! In which our heroine learns that she is just as annoying as everyone else. Maybe more. A surprise wedding.

March: Small town moments. Home repairs. A visit with Jim (and other things). Dad’s 81st birthday. A date with my family. Getting a jump on spring. Suzy the screwup. Surprise present!

April: Megan’s new (to her, anyway) car! Mom’s 80th birthday. Spring planting. A rainy trip to the City. Impersonating a responsible adult. San Francisco storm. A lovely last day in the City. Jessica’s ninth birthday. The arrival of Digit, the Office Cat. Kitty update. A girls’ day out. With my favorite girl.

May: A new (well, to me) couch! My 12th blogaversary, among other things. Festive. A dilemma. License to drive. Scarred for (or by) life. An eclipse, and other things. Rob’s epic trip to see his Mother one last time. My considerably less epic trip to San Francisco. Farewell to Rob’s Mother.

June: A magical evening with the Beach Boys. Fabulous fifty! An unexpected trip. Birthday party. Dilemma solved. Birth of a garden. A wonderful tour of artists’ studios. The arrival of my first (and I hope only) subpoena.

July: A belated and fabulous birthday present. Erica and Jessica are back! My first crown. Sadly, not the Queen kind, though almost as expensive. The looming trip to Detroit makes my humble home look like paradise. The unlovely itinerary. The trip does not go according to plan. Finally in Detroit. Court of horrors. Home at last. Changes at home and at work. Time for an engine check. The neighbors stop by. A snake in the grass. I mean, house.

August: A quick trip to San Francisco. The splendid pool reopens. My 2,000th blog post. And Roscoe’s mystery injury. A lousy day with a better ending. The 11th anniversary of Dad’s death (post won’t link; it’s August 18). A new home for the adorable Digit (who is very happy there). First day at the new office – and more car problems.

September: The money fairy stops by. First foray into retail, and an update on Digit. Two very sad losses for two very dear friends. A fabulous County Fair. A check up for the Schatz. Could, woulda, shoulda – or not. Appreciating the simple things.

October: A small town moment. A very special event. A great evening with family and friends. Swimming lessons resume. Now with Jessica! The 15% pay cut rears its ugly head. So does winter. An eventful day. The Giants win the World Series again! Oh, and we go to the circus.

November: A happy Halloween. The President is, thankfully, re-elected. This campaign was brutal – I can’t believe we have to go through it again in four years. But I won’t think about that now. A beautiful way to remember. An evening at the theatah. A look around the garden. Some new beginnings. Getting ready for Thanksgiving. A wonderful Thanksgiving. Jarrett adopts the World’s Cutest Puppy.

December: Christmas decorations. Church concert. Getting ready for Christmas. A happy holiday. Lighting up the night.

Thanks for joining me for another year of adventures. I wish you all a very happy and healthy new year!


Things have been busy in Suzy-land since I last checked in with you, faithful readers.

My blog was hacked, though I can’t imagine why, unless there’s a severe trivia shortage somewhere. The wonderful Candi of the appropriately named No Hassle Hosting solved the problem for me, restored everything, and implored me to change my password, which I did, though I have to say one of the things I like least about the modern world is having to have passwords for everything. Hopefully in the future they can be stored in one’s fingertips. I hope the Powers That Be are working on that, along with the Star Trek style of travel.

Because instant gratification isn’t fast enough for me.


The jobette moved. We have gone uptown, both literally (three blocks north) and figuratively. Our new space is bigger and much more attractive. We have added a retail element, selling local goods ranging from Seasoning Sand (as seen in Oprah magazine) to books, t-shirts, and mugs.

It looks pretty good, no?

Here is my desk, where all the magic happens:

I’ve started working longer hours, including the weekend, so the jobette is getting more and more job-like. I have never worked retail before, and was (and am) still baffled by the cash register when I made my first sale, to a darling 20 month old from Sacramento named Joshua:

His parents bought some sea salt and Joshua got a book about the Skunk Train, which he has already ridden twice in his short life. I gave them a deal since I couldn’t find a price on the book, and they were our very first retail customers. It was exciting.


Also exciting was the fact that jury duty, planned right smack in the middle of the move, was cancelled. I called in the night before and was delighted to learn that my presence was no longer requested and required. I have to admit that I would actually find serving on a trial interesting, but the timing wasn’t good. Hopefully my involvement in the judicial system for this year will be limited to my Grand Jury appearance in July and watching The Good Wife.

That reminds me: I can burn that August 15 “placeholding” subpoena. That will be fun.

Last week, I emailed the US Attorney’s Office to ask them about my expense check, which has so far failed to materialize. At first they told me they had no record of me, which made me laugh, since they had not only issued two subpoenas to me, but had paid for my airfare and hotel so I could testify for an hour.

Then they tried to tell me that they never got my expense report. Fortunately I had copied everything and sent it certified, so I could tell them that it had been delivered at 8:16 am on July 23 and offer to mail them the copies, even though the form says you have to submit the original receipts.

Eventually they admitted that I did in fact exist and that they had my expense report. Then they said they had an issue with my staying overnight in San Francisco on my way home. I had noted on a cover letter that the flight they put me on arrived in San Francisco after 10:00 pm and that it was after 11:00 pm by the time I got to my car. Since it’s a four hour drive from SFO to my house, after that long flight from Detroit, I stayed overnight.

I suggested that they just disallow that portion and pay me for the rest of it, but they said they’d try to get it approved. I sent them an email this week to find out what the status is, but I haven’t heard back yet. The wheels of justice, i have heard, move slowly.


I know you’re all dying to hear how Digit is doing in her new home. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a picture of Digit on her very first day in her new home:

Her new family emailed us with the following report:

Digit is doing great. She settled in surprisingly easily. She and our other 3-year-old cat surprised each other the first time they met (he’s the disabled one and he accidentally bumped into her), so they started out hissing at each other. After a few hours, though, they got into an easy truce, and now share almost everything. She seemed to have an almost immediate curiosity and affinity with our older polydactyl long-haired grey, which I found quite interesting.

So all’s well that ends well!

Nearly There

Coming to you from San Francisco!

I’m drinking bad in-room coffee, but not at my usual modest motel, where there was, in keeping with the theme of this trip, no room at the inn. So I’m at a more expensive, but noisier and less nice place nearby. I had the middle seat for the long flight from Chicago to SFO, flanked by two very tall but very nice men. We arrived at the International terminal, for some unknown reason, so I had to line up for a shuttle to get to the regular terminal and retrieve my car. I hadn’t eaten since 4 am Pacific time that day, so I called Victor’s and picked up dinner on my way back to the hotel. It’s a good thing they are still open at 11:00 pm.

I don’t even know where to begin to tell you all about yesterday, especially since I can’t tell you, or my boss/partner what happened in the courtroom, just my lawyer.

I walked to our lawyer’s office in the 86 degree heat yesterday morning to be prepared for the coming ordeal (it turns out hat nothing can really prepare you for it, however). On the way there, I noticed this vacant lot which has been turned into a public garden, including vegetables:

Downtown Detroit has many beautiful buildings, including the historic building where our lawyer’s office is located. On the 13th floor. Here’s the view from the conference room:

That’s Windsor across the Detroit River. I can’t tell you how tempting it was to hop across the river and take a train to visit my Ontario friends. So close, and yet so far!

At the appointed hour, we walked to the courthouse:

I had to leave my phone and iPod at the lawyer’s office, but still had to go through airport-type security at the courthouse. I waited about an hour and a half before I was called. Your lawyer is not permitted in the courtroom, so it’s just you, the prosecutor, and the jury. I walked into the courtroom with the US Attorney, stopped in front of the clerk, and took the oath you see on TV. Remarkably, there was no Bible to swear on (or even mentioned). Then I stepped up into the raised witness stand and spent the longest hour of my life answering non-stop questions into the microphone. I kept my eyes right on the US Attorney the whole time; I never even looked at the jury.

When I was finally excused, he gave me a lovely parting gift: another subpoena dated August 15. He explained that this is just in case they have more questions for me after they read all the documents our lawyers submitted to his office. Supposedly it is not likely that I will have to go, and I hope that is true. I was terribly shaken by the interrogation and now I know what to expect, I will be even more scared the next time. If there is a next time.

At least it’s over now: the courtroom, the delayed flights, the waiting around, the worrying. It’s a beautiful, sunny day in San Francisco, as as soon as I have breakfast and pack up the car, I’ll be on my way home, the most beautiful place in the world.

In Transit

As usual, karma ignored me. I got a seat in the very last row of the plane, giving me a front row set to the sights, smells, and sounds of the lavatoire. As an added bonus – as if one were needed – being in the last row means that the jerk in front of you can jack his chair back right into your lap, but you can’t return the favor to the fellow sufferer behind you, or even move your own chair to get away from the stunning view of his bald spot.

At least it made a change from the bathroom view.

Since the plane was smaller, it was much bumpier and more alarming than the bigger plane on the night flight from San Francisco. I was glad to arrive in hot and humid Detroit, though, after a day and a half of travelling.

Needless to say, the plane parked as far as possible from the ground transportation. I wonder how many airport miles I have walked over the past two days?

Fortunately, a friend had referred me to a fabulous car service that costs about the same as a plebeian taxi, and I was pretty much over plebeian transportation and the common man, woman, and especially child at this point. It was delightful to be relieved of my bags and ensconced in a town car with cool water provided. Not for the first time (or the last time on this particular day), I considered that whoever invented air conditioning is one of my personal heroes.

The driver was so nice and we chatted amiably as we headed downtown, even passing one of my favorite landmarks on the way:

It was the best part of the trip.

I was so happy to get to the hotel. It was surprisingly swellegant. I figured the US Attorney would stick in me in the cheapest thing possible, but instead, I got a lovely suite in a beautifully refurbished historic hotel, just two blocks from the courthouse of doom (where I’ll be spending today). Here’s the living room:

And here’s the bedroom:

Best of all, there was a tub in the bathroom!

I ventured out to find a much-needed (well, at this point, essential) bottle of wine. I learned that, among its other faults, like heat and humidity, Michigan does not seem to sell booze at corner stores or drugstores, the way California does. I ended up walking eight sweaty blocks to the nearest liquor emporium, where I was rewarded with a bottle of Skinny Girl Pina Colada, which I did not know existed. Just the thing for a tropical evening!

Back at the hotel, I drew a bath – though I struck out on bubble bath in my booze quest – poured a glass of pina colada, perched my MacBook on the bathroom counter, and watched “Gilmore Girls” in the tub. Do I know how to live, or what?

After that, I called Room Service – two of the most beautiful words in the English language – for my traditional while travelling club sandwich, and crawled into bed kindergarten early on either coast. Missing a night’s sleep and being tortured by airports and airplanes will do that to a girl. The bed was a cloud of heavenliness and I woke up before my wake-up call, ready to face today’s ordeal: Courthouse followed by yet more airporting. I hope there are no delays in either place and that I am back in California before the day is over.

Stay tuned….

Manic Monday

I know most of you spend most of your time wishing you were Me, but today you would much prefer to be You.

I promise.

Here’s my unenviable schedule for today:

  • 6 am: Get up. (Check! Up at 5:30 to discover that cats have broken one of my Elvis movie poster glasses. Bonus: water all over the place!)
  • Get ready. Pack up car. Try not to forget anything. Say goodbye to kitties, assuming they aren’t out playing in the sunshine, which they almost certainly will be.
  • Leave by 8:00 am for 45 minute drive to the jobette.
  • 12:00 pm: Purchase forgotten items at lunch.
  • 4:00 pm: leave work for 4 hour drive to San Francisco.
  • Dinner somewhere along the way. I have a $28 travel day meal allowance, so I guess this means Chez Panisse is out.
  • Park car somewhere at SFO. Drag Self and Stuff into terminal. Suffer usual indignities of having the temerity to travel. I am betting that I will be behind a couple of oldsters who have been living under a rock in one of the square states and has somehow managed never to have heard about the enforced shoe removal rule.
  • Festina lente, as our Latin forebears would have it, though they couldn’t possibly have imagined waiting for a midnight flight to a place you don’t want to go to in the first (or second, or third) place.
  • Hope the bar is still open.
  • Terrifying transport to O’Hare, the busiest airport in the entire US of A, arriving at the unsalubrious hour of 6:20 am.
  • Change planes, which will probably include changing terminals with my terminally sleep-deprived self.
  • Somehow manage to arrive in Detroit at 9:40 am. Couldn’t I have gotten to Europe in all that time? Or at least Hawaii?
  • Drop bags off at hotel, resist urge to leap into Lake Ontario, and head to a meeting at our as yet unseen (to me) office near the ballpark. Needless to say, it’s the All Star Break, so the proximity to the ballpark is completely useless. I am even more certain that the American League will win than I was about the airport oldsters.
  • Meet with our lawyers. I imagine this will take my mind right off the impending trip home and the crown that is awaiting me if I am (un)lucky enough to survive the trip. Bonus!

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?


Well, I wrote a post a few days ago, and then I got paranoid and deleted it, and then I had second thoughts and thought I’d restore it, but it seems that when WordPress deletes something, it stays deleted.

Told you decision-making was not one of my strong suits.

Last Friday, my boss/partner called me to say that I have been subpoenaed to appear in front of the Grand Jury in Detroit in a couple of weeks. This is even scarier than that audit we went through a few years ago.

Also, it’s going to take forever to get there and I haven’t flown in so long that I can just feel my flying phobia in full bloom again. And then there’s the whole court thing.

Right now, I’m planning to work at the jobette on the Monday, drive to San Francisco after work, and take the red eye, arriving in Detroit early on Tuesday morning. I’m supposed to meet with our lawyers that day to be prepared for the Grand Jury on Wednesday. Then I’ll fly to San Francisco on Wednesday night, stay overnight, and drive home the next day.

That’s a lot of hassles and 6,000 miles just to tell people that I don’t know anything, because I don’t. I got paranoid and took the earlier post down because I was afraid that the Powers That Be might somehow find it and read it, even though I hadn’t said anything that could get me in trouble.

I think.

I told my good friend A about the whole thing, and she said to think of it as exciting and glamorous, and being part of a courtroom drama. Another friend said I should feel really special, since there aren’t many Grand Juries convened and your chances of being called to testify in front of one is about one in a million. It will be an experience, he said, but I think it’s one I’d rather not experience.

Motor City Moments


I took a little time off from policing* the “kids” (1 old dog + 2 kittens = 1 naughty teenager + 2 babies) to go and visit my dear Kathleen. It was a beautiful weekend, with the summer warmth lingering and the trees by the side of the road just beginning to flaunt their annual Fall finery. My heart lifted as I swept past the giant Uniroyal tire: almost there!

The Henry Ford – if you didn’t already know, it’s America’s greatest history attraction – decided to have a special exhibit on Rock Stars Cars and Guitars just for me. Apparently the Museum doesn’t mind if my trip is delayed or if I arrive late, unlike the Tigers. And it was well worth the wait: sleek dream machines owned by those for whom money is no object, including the King, who shot his steering wheel when he discovered the keys to his Pantera were missing. And I thought I was impatient.

In addition to this collection, there is a vast and breathtaking one which is always on display and includes the last horse-drawn Presidential vehicle (Theodore Roosevelt’s, if you’re curious); the car in which JFK took his fateful drive (oddly, it was re-furbished and re-used by subsequent Presidents, which was news to me); a curvaceous, creamy 1931 Bugatti worth $25 million (and driven by Kathleen’s friend, who is a curator at the museum, at Goodwood); a trailer given by Mr. Ford to Charles Lindbergh in the 1940’s so he and his wife could travel the country in peace (their itinerary is neatly noted in Lindbergh’s hand on the underside of a drawer); a Tucker; Old 16, the first American car to win an international race, made in 1906 and still in working order. Try and keep your envy in check – I couldn’t – when I tell you that Kat’s Bugatti-driving buddy got to drive this gem with none other than Mr. Paul Newman.

All this and a 1952 Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, too.

Where there’s cars, there’s traffic. But never is traffic as fun as it is at TJ’s, Kathleen’s favorite restaurant in Detroit (and mine, too). The lily has been gilded by the addition of a patio, where it was warm enough to enjoy both the food and the passing street scene, which, being in downtown Detroit, is something to be seen. My favorite was a guy shuffling past, who kept up a running commentary on what he saw, including our appetizers:

“Eatin’ they little salads…takin’ care o’ they health…”

I’m still laughing.

*I have no idea how real parents do it. Just keeping Rita out of the kitten food and putting up with her increased naughtiness level (her kitten invasion protest) and keeping her from chasing the kittens while keeping them from Rita’s dishes and bed is almost more than I can handle.

Happy Birthday, Kathleen!

Happy birthday to Kathleen, who is truly one of Detroit’s treasures. Spending time with her is always the best thing about being there.

Kathleen and I met when we both worked at the Hell Corporation*, and meeting her was one of the very few good things to come out of a bad situation. Maybe every cloud really does have a silver lining (and for the gift minded, please note that Kathleen prefers silver, white gold or platinum). She was definitely my personal silver lining during those dark HC days.

She was smart enough to get out first, but we always stayed in touch, and get together as often as we can. She is one of those rare friends you could call at 2 am in tears and she’d get right in the car, no questions asked. And when she got there, she’d actually make you feel better.

She loves Iggy Pop (and wrote a review of his most recent Detroit show that is better than any music magazine you’d care to mention) as much as she loves the Symphony. She knits and knows pretty much everything there is to know about hockey. She is as beautiful as she is smart, and as funny, too. She is fiercely loyal and utterly tolerant. She knows what love is.

Hope you’re having a great day, girl!

*Like He Who Shall Not be named in the Harry Potter series, it shall not be named. But it knows who it is.


A lot o’ people don’t realize what’s really going on. They view life as a bunch o’ unconnected incidents ‘n things. They don’t realize that there’s this, like, lattice o’ coincidence that lays on top o’ everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you’re thinkin’ about a plate o’ shrimp. Suddenly someone’ll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o’ shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin’ for one, either. It’s all part of a cosmic unconciousness.

— Tracey Walter as Miller, Repo Man

I’ve been feeling slightly chilled for the past few days, like a young Beaujolais* (or an old lady). Hopefully, that’s just a coincidence, like all the other coincidences this week:

  • I was listening to the Everly Brothers when I read a passage in Richard Ford’s latest novel, The Lay of the Land, in which the hero wonders which Everly Brother is Don (Don’s the older one, in case you, too, were wondering).
  • Finished watching the final episode of Monk’s first season, in which Tim Daly was a guest star, and started watching a new Law & Order in which Tim Daly was the guest star.
  • Finished reading the Halle Berry interview in the April InStyle, put on CNN, and there was Miss Berry being interviewed.
  • Finished watching a 50 year old episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and while idly flipping through the TV channels afterwards, came across Jeopardy, showing a clue to which the correct answer (or question, depending on how you look at it) was, you guessed it, Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Weird, don’t you think? Also it sounds like I do nothing but read, drink, and watch TV. I do walk the dog, too, you know.

As for the suspense I left you in:

  • The cable guy showed up. He wasn’t crazy or a TV addict (as far as I know), and he kept all romantic advice to himself. So much better in real life than the Jim Carrey one in the movies. Of course, someone at the office was supposed to flip a switch and didn’t, so the cable still wasn’t working when I got back from Detroit, but that was solved with a phone call and a ten minute wait on hold.
  • The trip was a success from a business standpoint, but not from a personal one, since the delightful Kathleen was (temporarily, thank goodness) on the DL. Detroit without Kathleen is like coffee without caffeine.
  • If you’re wondering where the beautiful people (other than Miss K) are in Detroit, I can tell you from experience that they are in a certain real estate office downtown. The landlord of our soon to d?but Detroit office lent us his conference room for the meeting marathon. Two of the loveliest girls I had ever seen brought us coffee and water. As soon as they left, my boss and I looked at each other and said, “Wow.” A few minutes later, another beauty passed the glass doors of the conference room, and then the ravishing receptionist came in to tell us the first candidate was there. After she left, I said, “This is ridiculous!” in admiration, and my boss said, “I can see what one of their hiring criteria is!” And what a sight it was.
  • In keeping with the beauty theme, all the Michigan-based managers we interviewed were incredibly sharp dressers (though sadly, not up to the standard set by the bevy of realty beauties). I have never seen so many men with subtly monogrammed cuffs, exquisite cufflinks, daring ties, and flawless manicures in my life. Definitely the most remarkable part of the trip.
  • *Before you start thinking that I’m the type of girl who’d drink P?trus on the rocks, let me assure you that light red wines should be drunk at about 50 degrees – that’s “room temperature” in the bad old pre-central heating days, or slightly chilled in these halcyon, heated ones.

Just Desserts


It wasn’t all bad, despite Hotel Hell (yes, I diid get my deposit back) and the Tigers’ heartbreaking World Series loss.

For once, I had a non-Chevy, non-blinding blue rental car. It was a white Pontiac Grand Prix (at least Pontiac is a city in Michigan) and not at all a clown car. Best feature: the butt warmers in the seats! Rita and I both give them two paws up.

Dinner with Kathleen was fabulous, of course. She is one of the most interesting people I know. It was great to catch up, the food was wonderful, as always, and we had a bottle of nicely chilled white Bordeaux from Graves (90% Me, 10% Kathleen, the designated driver). I even had dessert and ate some of hers. Dessert fans: if you’re ever in Detroit, go to TJs. I had double berry crumble and Kathleen had housemade seedless blackberry ice cream with hot fudge sauce. Being such a good friend, I helped her out with the sundae, and it was a little piece of heaven. They make all their own desserts, and it’s worth the pilgrimage.

You probably won’t believe me after that rhapsody, but I rarely eat dessert. It was so worth making an exception!

And finally…what’s not to love about the giant Uniroyal Tire?

Hotel Hell

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.

Mo’ Motown


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.

And Into the Future

After a nap to recover from the wonders of the Village giving my sluggish mind (and feet) an unaccustomed workout, Kathleen picked me up at my not-sleazy (sadly) motel and took me out for a fabulous dinner at her fave restaurant. She has also taken my boss there. There are no degrees of separation between us (sorry, Kevin Bacon), because we all used to work at the same Hell Office and all escaped with our sanity more or less intact (though not our bank accounts). In our case, the world isn’t just small, it’s petite.

Anyway, we were greeted at the appropriately named Traffic Jam & Snug by its petite owner, a friend of Kathleen’s, like most of the Detroit population. She showed absolutely no sign of having had four children, one in the past year, and immediately made me feel like a particularly ungainly and unattractive Heffalump.

TJ’s, as it is known to its fortunate habitu?s, is a charming, rambling old brick building with a warren of rooms that manage to be both cozy and spacious at the same time. I think it might have been a warehouse or similar in its original state. Now it produces excellent food, including bread and cheese made on the premises. I started with a Sinatra-strength Cosmopolitan that was the size of a young swimming pool. It would have knocked Sarah Jessica Parker on her size 2 ass, but this SJP is made of sterner stuff. I was even able to have half a bottle of excellent California chardonnay with my dinner of superb crab cakes. It was so good to be with such a dear friend in such a great place.

Talk about a perfect day!

The next day, my last in Motown, wasn’t so shabby, either. I took a tour of Ford’s historic (since 1917!) Rouge Factory, where the F-150 trucks are made. It was an amazing experience, and the factory must be one of the only ones in the world with a “living roof” and an on-site wildlife refuge. The Ford reputation for innovation is certainly being carried on. Mr. Ford would be proud.

The tour starts with fascinating historic footage, shown on three huge screens. It was mesmerizing and inspiring. This was followed by what I considered to be a cheesy virtual reality experience of a truck being built, complete with being sprinkled with water and enduring crashing noises and flashing, seizure-inducing lights. I’m pretty sure this was some guy’s little brainchild. Most people loved it, though.

Finally, you actually get to walk around a specially-designed catwalk and watch these skilled workers creating the trucks. It’s like an industrial ballet down there, the people and machines working in rhythm, accompanied by the dissonant soundtrack of machinery. At the end, you get to see the trucks being tested for safety on rough roads, in downpours, etc. If you’re in Detroit, you should go. One caveat: you will get tired of the endless repetition of the theme symphony playing on the bus that takes you there and back. Bring your iPod.


I don’t know if it’s the dog days or the death days, but my creativity seems to have withered like the pansies in my windowbox during the heatwave. The heatwave is mercifully over, but inside my head looks like one of those bleak landscapes by Salvador Dali (of course, the watches have melted from the heatwave, and my landscape would be littered with martini glasses, lipstick, and a scattering of diamonds, but you get the picture). No movie nights, no reminiscences, no nothing.

However, all this should change this weekend, when I am finally able to attend my dear Kathleen’s Birthday Baseball Extravaganza. For the past two years, Mom was either dying or dead, so I had to send my truly regretful regrets, but this year, I can join a couple dozen of Kathleen’s closest friends and admirers at the Detroit Tigers game on Saturday! I’m also planning to take the Ford Factory Tour, only fitting for a girl whose only car was a Ford.

In construction site news, yesterday the big crane managed to hit an electrical wire, causing a power outage chez moi, and, less importantly, the entire block. Fortunately, I was out for several hours going to the gym and primping (I had my eyebrows threaded for the first time and the results are fab) for the Birthday Baseball Extravaganza. When I got home, the power was back on, and Rita thought I looked mahvelous. She should know.

Rita’s charm seems to be off the charts these days. Maybe it’s the grooming, maybe it’s just her native loveliness, but when I was walking her the other evening, an older gentleman came out of his house as we passed to pet her and fuss over her. When the construction workers convene in the morning, they fuss over her, too, and sometimes give her part of their lunches. She’s the Queen of the ‘Hood. Guess that makes me her Lady in Waiting*.

*Especially when she’s sniffing around in the bushes so long that I’m afraid she’s found a body.