Saturday, October 28, 2006


You know those little flashes when everything seems to be OK, those moments when life seems normal, and you're completely happy and everything's right with the world, and in the next instant, it's gone and you realize that the horrible thing you've put out of your mind is actually reality and it's here to stay?

I've been having those fleeting moments of happiness lately, where in my mind I think to myself at random moments, "When I get home I need to email Tim, I haven't talked to him in a long time" and in the next instant I realize it's because he's gone.

It's literally just an instant that I think about him still being here, and in the next instant I know he isn't and I'm being stupid, and then I wonder through tears, "Is it better to have those happy moments, or is it making it harder to get through this crap?"

Our little band of friends has given up talking about the whole situation, and I guess that's good, why drag down a good time, right? But I wonder what everyone else remembers, what everyone else is thinking. Are they thinking about Tim? Is anyone else missing him, is that hole in the room something only I notice?

I'm afraid to bring it up, because I don't know. I don't know where everyone stands, and for all I know, bringing the whole thing up could interrupt the one good day someone is having. Or maybe no one is thinking about it at all.

Dealing with someone's suicide is not only a shock to the system, but in many ways, it's terribly isolating. We missed our support group this week--after the week I had, I was just way too tired. Michael and I drove home Thursday afternoon and just as we got back, I said, "That group is tonight, but I have zero desire to drive back up to Woodbridge." And even though he admitted to feeling sad, and I was feeling sad, we decided not to go anyway.

I guess in a way, I want to sit down and talk about it, but in a way, I don't. The grief in the beginning was dealt with so unevenly that even that was getting me upset. I guess some of the fear is my own.

Friday, October 27, 2006

It's coming... won't be hearing much of me from the month of November...

This year, I'm going to do it. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My Thought For The Day...

I just cleaned the Rabbit Room.

If bunny poop suddenly becomes a tradeable form of currency, Donald Trump is going to want my number.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

An Evening with Harry Shearer

When Judy and I love something, we love the daylights out of it... Granted, it has to be something that for some reason captures our imagination as "extraordinary", but once we find it, typically we latch onto it, and don't let go. Thus far, there is one movie and one movie only we have in common that we both can't get enough of.

Said movie is Oscar. It is a comedy from when we were much younger, starring Sylvester Stallone as a mobster who wants to go straight, as that is his dying father's final wish. As far as I am concerned, it's probably one of the most clever and hilarious movies ever. There are a lot of people, most people probably, who look at me like I have 3 heads when I say that. Tough. :-) Judy and I always put it in when we're in a mutual bad mood, and thank God for DVD's, because over the years, we burned through a couple of VHS tapes (although to be fair, one died when it got stepped on).

Last summer, Peter Riegert (who I'm sure is much more well-known for his role in Animal House) came to Bethesda to promote his new movie, King of the Corner. In Oscar, he plays a mobster-turned-butler, and I was tremendously excited to meet him. We all went up there, and when we pulled out "Oscar" he about fell on the floor. He couldn't believe someone wanted it autographed. His direct words were, "Oh my God, Oscar!"

After the stunning success of the Peter Riegert venture, we decided it would be our lifelong goal to have as many members of the cast as we could find sign the DVD. We came close to getting Tim Curry, but not close enough, and are nowhere near Sylvester Stallone or Marisa Tomei, but Mother Luck shined upon us, and sent Harry Shearer (who played one of the Finnuci Brothers, a tailor) back to DC last night.

This was not as easy as it sounds, however!! He was actually here a month ago, and I didn't go to meet him because my ladies' supper club was meeting. I agonized and agonized about it, but finally I decided that it would be more important to spend time with my friends, some of whom I do only see once per month.

While at the Alan Alda book signing, a woman told me about a website where you could find a listing of celebrity book signings all over the country, and I found it via google. (Since I'm nicer than she was, I'll give it to all of you:

Imagine my delight when I found out that Harry Shearer was coming back to sign copies of his first novel! So, of course, I decided, this was it, I would get my second autograph on the DVD. There was a minor glitch, being that the signing was going to happen in Georgetown which means a) driving into the city, which I don't like, but there's no transit) and b) finding parking, which can be a bear over there.

Now, since Mr. Shearer is quite well known as the voice of The Simpsons and as one of Christopher Guest's big ensemble players and musicians, we figured there'd be a heck of a crowd. I went early enough that I got 2 seats dead center, first row. There were seats set up for 50 people. I was shocked. I was sure there would be a lot of people there. When it came time for the signing, there were MAYBE 75 people there. Compared to the 100's I was expecting, that was kind of sad. However, Mr. Shearer was suffering an ocular migraine and was jet lagged, so it was probably better that he didn't get stuck with a huge crowd :-)

Barnes and Noble Georgetown needs to get its act together in introducing these people however!!! The guy they had working the store-wide speakers had no idea what he was doing, mispronouncing names (at one point after Harry had entered the store, he was sitting across from us in a back corner of the store and the guy announced that Henry She-har would be upstairs and Harry just looked at the ceiling and laughed), stumbling over his words, the whole 9 yards. The guy who was in charge of special events introduced Harry as a star of "A League of Their Own" so Harry first said, "I don't want to embarrass my friend here, but IMDB or Wikipedia had it wrong, I was never in 'A League of Their Own'."

Anyway, the small crowd worked well for us!! Harry didn't mind signing memoribilia, so Judy got a copy of the "A Mighty Wind" soundtrack autographed, and then I stepped forward and handed him Oscar. His reaction was the exact same as Peter Riegert's: "Oh my God, Oscar!" We had a good laugh over the whole thing, and he signed it and then agreed to pose for a picture with us.

It was a lot of fun and a great evening. I think it's my last book signing for a while--I'm planning to go meet President Carter on 11/28 in Bailey's Crossroads with a co-worker of mine. In December, I'm going to my mom's and we're going to go see Paula Deen at a book signing there. It'll be a great way to wrap up my most literary year!

UPDATE: Blogger likes me again.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Weekend Update

Not too much to report.

The great dog experiment has failed... Michael once said, "Susan, we're not camping people" and I have now said to him, "Honey, we're not dog people."

Thursday night we brought home 2 darling Italian greyhounds. I had desperately wanted iggies since my own died in 2001. We saw a lovely family on Craig's List DC and met with them in person, and all was well, and we picked up the dogs and brought them home. But sadly, it did not pan out. They developed a taste for hassenpfeffer, so we had to return them this morning. All 3 bunnies are fine, but I think TomTom in particular is glad to have his kingdom return to some normalcy.

We went up to the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church today for their Bazaar Rus. We all ate way too much delicious Russian food (the beef stroganoff was out of this world), and enjoyed looking at some greatly overpriced Russian handicrafts. Seriously, Christmas ornaments that the Orthodox Church near Boston used to sell for $5 were on sale at this church for roughly 6 times that amount. It was shocking. So we didn't buy anything other than our food.

I have a new addiction that is slowly overtaking MySpace in my world: YouTube. I've started getting addicted to people's video blogs, and it's all getting a bit too serious... But I can't quit watching. The old men talking about the war, the drunks, the satirists, hell I'm even addicted to LonelyGirl15. I thought I'd post my viewing list... For a good laugh, you've got to check out KarlDaly81 at The guy is an absolute genius. I've probably watched all of his videos 10 times. Sadly he only puts up new videos every week or so, so in the mean time, I watch all the old ones... I also LOVE Geriatric1927 at He also is only putting up one or two a week, but they're so full of wonderful memories about growing up during WWII that each one needs to be rehashed several times anyway to really get the full experience out of them. I also love to watch BradThunder at He's got the most soothing persona ever, and shows some great stuff. He's pretty new, but I would expect that he'll have great things to say about life in general. He's got a beautiful accent and just really relaxes me. The video he just posted of him walking his dog was awesome.

I am plugging away at "Ragtime" for the book club. My mom is reading the selections that we read for Lit Chicks, and I was thinking that since she wants to participate, it might be interesting to start my own book club on Yahoo Groups to have a sort of "on line Lit chicks" as well as the real life one. Anyone interested? We could select books and discuss them via email just like a real book club. Distance would be no barrier. It would be cool!

Well, I guess that's about all from here. I need to vacuum the house and put the dishes in the dishwasher. I will now be here for Thanksgiving, since, sadly, too many factors were stacked against me to go to my mom's house for the holiday. I'm now planning to go to Florida in December and we'll go meet Paula Deen at a booksigning in my mom's new town. It'll be pretty cool. So, my dad is coming to spend time with Judy and me, so if anyone is lonely and in DC for Thanksgiving, come on over for the most incredible turkey you've ever had... :) Saturday, we're all loading up and heading for my dad's alma mater, Rutgers, to take in a football game with his beloved Scarlet Knights (who are now, according to his euphoric phone call last night, 6-0 and Bowl Game eligible). Go 'gers!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Book Club Selections So Far...

We had our meeting on Monday, October 2nd, and I'm only just getting to the point where I'm sitting down to write out what we selected to date... Granted, I've been at the computer loads, I just haven't felt like blogging until today... Bad Susan. :)

Well, to start off with, I selected The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. The minute I read the description after Lesley recommended it, I was tremendously excited to read it, but never quite got around to it. Now I will have the chance, but not until June next year. (I'll probably read it before that, however!)

We will be reading Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow for our November book. I've started it, and it's pretty good, but I do seem to fall asleep a fair amount when reading it, which is funny because I'm enjoying the vignettes. It's my sister's FAVORITE BOOK EVER, she wrote a 25 page thesis on it, so I'm hoping that she will get some favorable reviews from the girls. I'm not sure if they'll love it or hate it.

After that, we'll be reading Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, which is quite funny since Melissa gave me that book for my birthday. I've been reading it more than Ragtime, I must confess, and I'm really enjoying it. The women in it are fascinating.

The other 3 books that have been selected thus far are Hannah's Daughters by Marianne Fredriksson, March by Geraldine Brooks and The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. Everyone else has been not quite sure about their book choices for the year. So I'll post them as we get them! :)

My mom is interested in joining as a cybermember of the Lit Chicks, and I'm mulling over how to make that happen. I considered setting up an online Yahoo Groups kind of book club. Don't know if it's been done before, but we'll see...

What's Wrong With Good Ole Fashioned...

...hand washing?

This has been bothering me since it happened a week and a half ago, so I've decided to blog about it...

This comes with the disclaimer that: I AM NOT A PARENT. So I really can't say for sure that I wouldn't be the same, but I don't think I would... But I don't know.

So, every now and again, a news story comes up that basically states that with all the drugs and such that we are using nowadays, we are creating a hearty strain of bacteria and germs that are antibiotic-resistant.

Just yesterday on NPR they were talking about how handwashing is the single most important thing you can do to reduce the spread of germs, and how 78% of people either a) don't wash their hands at all after using the bathroom; or b) don't wash their hands long enough to do any real good after using the bathroom. SEVENTY EIGHT PERCENT. That's just gross. And I was just patrolling the CDC website and several others, and they have actually launched campaigns about handwashing. CAMPAIGNS. Meaning tax dollars are being spent to tell people to wash their hands. What the hell? Weren't we supposed to learn to do this in kindergarten?

So anyway, the other day, I was in line at my new favorite place for lunch, Panera. And in front of me were 3 women, and each woman had 1 or 2 children with her. They had just come in from someplace, I don't know where, but they must have been outside, since they were dressed for it (sunhats, sweaters, etc.), and the kids looked a bit dusty.

They had given each kid a piece of bread from the sample tray, and the kids were happily running around, screaming, eating their bread, and just being kids. All of a sudden, one of the moms, in the midst of ordering I might add, shrieks, and demands her child comes over to her, takes the bread away and begins madly rifling through her purse. She is somewhat manic because she can't find her Purell. Mom #2 offers her bottle, and she squirts some on the kid's hands and makes her rub them together, then gives her the bread back and continues ordering.

So my brain immediately starts working, and I started to wonder all of the following...

1. The kid had already eaten half her bread. Why didn't they go in the bathroom when they entered the store and WASH THEIR HANDS???

2. Purell does a bang-up job of killing germs, but aren't the kids hands still dirty?

3. Isn't 2 or 3 years old a bit young to use Purell?

4. Since she used a sizeable glob of Purell and it didn't evaporate entirely on the little girl's little hands, isn't possible that said child was now eating Purell on her bread?

5. Is such a use of Purell leading us down the primrose path of finding Purell-resistant bacteria? And then what? Are we going to have to dip our hands in bleach? And what happens when bleach no longer works?

The thing is, Purell has its uses, and I use it regularly, because I see so many clients, and some of them are quite ill or don't live in the most sanitary conditions, and for me, it's a good stop gap between houses or between places I can wash up. But in no way, shape, or form, does it take the place of handwashing.

I dunno, maybe it's a symptom of our "gotta have instant gratification, instant results" culture these days. For the folks who now Swiffer instead of mopping, and reheat potroast from a plastic bag instead of cooking, maybe Purell is the just the logical next step to handwashing. But it strikes me that it a) doesn't solve every problem and b) could lead to bigger problems down the road.

(I never knew I was such a hygiene freak)

Sites on handwashing:

Saturday, October 07, 2006

All Grocery Stores Are NOT Created Equal

Ok, well, basically since I'm cheap bastard, as my husband would say (he wouldn't call me a cheap bastard, but he uses the phrase occasionally), I have always shopped at the grocery store on the corner. Until recently, said grocery store was a Food Lion. Around Memorial Day, they underwent intensive remodelling and re-opened as a BOTTOM DOLLAR FOODS...

Now, prior to this change, the Food Lion was not too bad a place. It looked a little dated, but I shopped there because a) it was the same food loads cheaper than Yuppie-Heaven/Giant; and b) it was close to the house. There was a nice mix of people there--some like me who wanted to save money, a lot of single people, and a lot of folks who didn't appear to have a lot of money too, judging by their WIC checks and such. (I have no problem with those people, incidentally, I know a lot of people in my hometown who, through no fault of their own, had to depend on WIC a lot, and saw the good it did.)

Damn, I'm getting off on a lot of tangents here.


Immediately after the place became Bottom Dollar, it was advertised as THE place to save. They eliminated the deli, widened the aisles and dropped about 4/5 of their products. They advertised that while most grocery stores carry about 30,000 items, they would carry 6,000 and all of it quite cheap. Ok, fine with me... But I immediately had a couple of beefs with the place.

Number one, they now charge for grocery bags. This royally pisses me off. I flat out refuse to pay for them. I would much rather pay an extra penny on my Cheez-Its than pay 5 cents for a stupid grocery sack. What the hell?

Then I started shopping. They have the strangest system. Not only do they only have 6,000 items, but they don't have the variety you might expect.

For instance, let's take the aforementioned Cheez-Its. They have 6 or 7 varieties and brands of Cheez-its. This appears to be a big ticket item in the Bottom Dollar food chain. But, pudding? You cannot buy chocolate pudding over there. You can get vanilla, you can get tapioca, you can get rice pudding, but not chocolate. What the hell????

Well, I went in last night to pick up 3 or 4 things, and the place has just become SO low rent. Seriously. The clientele, a term I use as loosely as possible, seems to have deteriorated to the town drunks, freaks, and generally the very strange.

For instance, I was walking past the case of $2.00 Ben and Jerry's (about the only thing the store has going for it at this point) last night, when a little girl (she couldn't have been more than 9 or 10) came flying around the corner, planted herself in the middle of the aisle, and began to do the stripper dance.

For those of you who are as white as I am, let me explain the stripper dance.

I first heard about it when I rented the documentary, Rize, on my Netflix. I had heard about "clowning" and "krumping" after seeing a trailer for Rize, and they explained it very well in the documentary. It's a form of dancing the street kids have developed in LA to keep out of gangs and reduce teen violence.

And apparently, a good part of it has to do with the stripper dance. What you do is, you plant your feet about shoulder length apart, and stick your butt out, bending your knees to accomplish a good butt-stick-out. Then you just shake that thang up and down as fast as you can, like a stripper. I swear to God I am not making this up. The sick thing is, while watching the documentary, I tried it, and it's actually about the easiest dance in the world. You will never see me dance like that, but I could if I were forced to stripper dance for my life. Well, if it keeps kids off drugs, who am I to judge?

So, I here I am in the dairy aisle, surrounded by ice cream and raw cookie dough, and here's a little girl stripper-dancing in front of me, when suddenly her family comes around the corner, and she yells, "How do you like me shakin' it now!?" Mom had the decency to look slightly mortified, but not much, and the other kids attempted to run into "it" with the shopping cart.

After leaving that charming little tableau, I headed to the register, where the biggest collection of scruffy individuals I've ever seen were standing around with cases of Coors Light and a 12-year-old young lady. As I went past them, they were discussing returning to the trailer park to "tie one on"...

So, low rent patrons, payin' for bags, and no chocolate pudding is looking like it's adding up to me making a once weekly trip to Central Park to shop at either Shoppers or Walmart Supercenter. Although, I probably wouldn't get some of the entertainment out of it if I go elsewhere... It's a point to debate. We'll see what happens.