Thursday, December 31, 2009


Nearly a year since my last entry. Hello? Anybody there?

To my distant friends and family, I'd like to suggest that email and blogs work both ways--not just my little blog/emails--others could share their own if they are hovering around. (Just a hint...)

With that out of the way, I've had a ten days off at the end of this last hectic year and have loved every single second of it (the ten days, not the year which was survivable, just). I had too many tasks planned for this break and have tried to enjoy each moment after no vacations since last year.

Good things in 2009--I finally got my roof replaced ($9,000) by cashing in an IRA. Had to get a new water main that broke in several places ($7,500). Got an old root canal redone (insurance paid for it, thank Gods) and other health maintenance requirements.

Felt the joy of Obama in the White House and the frustration of Republican "mischief" in the Congress, preventing us from getting universal health care. Something is better than nothing, but really--how disappointing.

The grandbabies are doing well and now live in a neighborhood with hundreds, if not thousands, of trees. They still come to see me on the weekends.

Next year, I'm committed to buying no new clothes since I've got more than I need; to get the big bills paid off and the credit cards as low as possible. Goodbye shopping. I'll try to use the time blogging or in some other heady pleasure.

Guilty pleasures? Saw "Sherlock Holmes" with Downey Jr. and loved it. Although Jeremy Brett will always BE Holmes to me, Richie's version is fun, crazy and a pastiche. So inaccurate and tongue-in-cheek, it's funny (and I love the music). Went to LUSH and got three soaps for the price of one and a luscious moisturizer. Reread my favorite Terry Pratchett books and mourn his illness because we'll have few new creations of his in future. Rock on, Terry.

Almost New Year now...Happy to All.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


First off, I'm still absolutely thrilled every time I hear someone say or write: "President Obama". President Obama, thank you for not giving up and for giving us hope.

So many of us never thought we would see the day when someone of mixed race would occupy the "White" House. Even more, I feared I'd never see a man or woman of intellect and insight take that role after Cheney/Bush/Rove. May the Bush Team rot in hell. For the first time, I wave an American flag outside my window.

We've turned a big corner. Maybe America has grown up--we'll see. I hope Obama and the Democrats can save our butts from the ruin the Republicans have made of our country. We as a nation let them ruin it and hopefully never will again. If we can get national healthcare--at last--then I think our country will have really evolved in a major way. And America can prosper, economically and culturally.

To the rug:

Last year, I found many rolls of denim cloth cut about 1-1/2 inches wide at my favorite "art shop"--SCRAP on Toland in SF. I'd been wanting to knit a rag rug, but so many rag rugs look, well, raggedy. Not worth all that work.

I got the denim (about $10) and washed the fabric strips first which created huge tangles but fringed and fluffed the edges of the fabric nicely (the cloth was cut on the grain, not the bias). Using huge needles (#15), I knitted this up in a LINEN STICH@ which creates a firm, non-stretchy surface. It took months, but the rug has been a success, keeping my grandbabies warm from the freezing wooden floors in my house. The rug looks handmade and a little funky but not raggedy. Size of the denim rug is about 46" by 42". I handsewed the strips together with denim thread.

I've done a few smaller rugs with stretch polyester and cotton strips for my kitchen and bathroom and they are okay too, though the knit stitch makes the borders a little uneven. These smaller rugs wash perfectly in my machine.

@LINEN STITCH: CO even number of stitches. Row 1: *K1, slip 1 with yarn in front. Repeat from * across, ending with a K1. Row 2: *P1, slip 1 with yarn in back. Repeat from * across, ending w P1. Repeat these two rows for pattern. When slipping stitches, always slip as if to purl.

The BEST part is that these can all be washed in a machine. For the large denim rug, I'll take it to the laundromat and toss it in the big $5 machine. It will probably take forever to dry, but grow softer with age. Right now I vacuum this rug and it comes up soft and clean.

My life otherwise in short has been: anxiety; election elation; more bodily maintenance issues; work work work; a few days off here and there; knitting; planning; seeing various doctors for foot, hand, brain; kids on the weekend (the now 3-year old is potty trained at last, the nearly 6-year old lovelier than ever); more anxiety; worry; aging mellowly often: books on tape; day trips inland (I hate to be away from the sea); work work work.

Here's to the future:

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


While browsing through a rather chichi shop on Berkeley's Fourth Avenue, I spied this image and had to have it. It is a work by Rudi Hurzlmeier from Berlin on an inexpensive postcard. I am enchanted by it and by the mind that could imagine it.

Some time ago, I spent ages looking on the Internet for boots like those of the crow. I always think of the granny boots I bought in my Hippie days, actual nun's shoes. I put colorful beads on the lace tips of those shoes and wore them under bellbottoms on my long walks around San Francisco. The black tooled leather was supple and the heels not too high. They were the best. I wish I had shoes like that again. Lucky crow.

So for the coming year, I'm going to try to have more fun, be sillier and laugh a lot more. Cruising through the art section of Pendragon Books, I found a book dedicated solely to cheese dishes, many of them quite beautiful. But imagine someone dedicating a huge chunk (no pun intended) of their life to cheese dishes--researching, photographing and then printing a definitive book on them. Well, why not? It did tickle me and I laughed aloud.

I've enjoyed my week off work so much. The time has flown by. One book-on-tape I listened to while puttering around my house was "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett. I'd hoped for a few historical details of the period, but it was trash--poorly written and even inaccurate at the end, with the villain being hanged for his part in Thomas Beckett's murder in the cathedral. Not true, according to my history pinup Simon Schama: the knights were banished, but not prosecuted. And full of anemic prose with the book way too long. It's a frame for Follett to hang architectural details upon. Plot twists unconvincing, etc. Not recommended.

BUT--another book on tape by Horatio Clare was a real gem: "Running for the Hills; Growing Up On My Mother's Sheep Farm in Wales". An idyllic and raw childhood with an eccentric mother and hundreds of sheep far from civilization. And all described in really beautiful prose, poetic prose.

One more day of freedom. I'll babysit Los Bebes tonight while their mom goes to a Peruvian family party (dancing, card games and eating all night long). The kids and I will snuggle overnight and greet the New Year tomorrow morning.

HAPPY 2009 to the family and friends who occasionally peek at this blog to see what Granny Sue is up to.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Like Elizabeth II, One expects life to grow easier as One ages.

Not true. In all honesty, 2008 was one of the worst years of my life emotionally. I am hoping things around me stablize and go more smoothly in 2009--a new President, a new worldview, a new vision. A new start.
One of the happiest of my days in 2008 was on Thanksgiving. I got up early, packed a lunch and drove alone to Stinson Beach via the rain forest on the north face of Mount Tamalpais.

Boy, did I catch a lot of crap from family members for "opting out" on THE big American Holiday. But I was in dire need of a day just for me: a slow drive playing my own music (French cafe songs and Bach) through the lush green of the mossy trees and rocks, the fog shreds drifting over the heavily wooded hills. At the end, like the treasure at the end of the rainbow, the sea with a fairly clean beach. I enjoyed that day immensely. Then it was back to a hectic schedule and trying to figure out a more balanced life for myself. in the coming year.

At Christmas, I gave in to family wishes and spent the day at my house with my grandkids making decorations for my last-minute tree and trying to keep peace with battling factions. It worked out fairly well. I bought the kids a camping tent so they could have their own "clubhouse" where no grownups are allowed. The tent takes up my whole dining room, and my grandkids' "babies" (all their stuffed toys and animals) are inside but it keeps them from being too bored on rainy days when we can't go out.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


To continue on my last post, I watched the VP debate and was relieved that Joe Biden kept his verbosity in check (for once). When I've seen him give interviews in the past, he can go on and on. Because Palin didn't screw up, everyone said she was a success. Compared to Biden's facts and figures, I'd call her performance lame and superficial, especially since she--like Bush--can't even pronounce "nuclear".

Here's the address to Jack Cafferty's comment on CouricGate:

And just to show that Matt Damon isn't just a pretty face, one more comment address I came across:

Damon refers to Palin's stand that Creationism should be taught in school along with Evolution. Does she also believe in The Rapture? And this person could be the leader of the Free World.

Palin's role now is to play attack-dog on Obama, while McCain tries to look nice and gentlemanly. Her current message leads her folks to believe that Obama has "palled around with terrorists". This refers to Obama's contact with a former Weatherman Bill Ayers, who went underground around 1970 (while Obama was in elementary school).

[By 1976 or 1977...federal charges against Ayers and his wife were dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct (source: Wikipedia).]

Obama served on a charity board with Ayers in Chicago during the mid-90s, and Ayers was present at an organizing meeting in 1995 to kick off Obama's first election campaign for the Illinois State Senate. At that time, Ayers had a doctorate in elementary education and had worked to win a grant for $49.2 million over five years for public school reform in Chicago.

But how many Sarah worshippers will bother to look this stuff up? Or even question her?

I'm hoping/praying that McCain and Palin will trip themselves up in the next month. Right now, Obama's in the lead in the polls, although I caught Karl Rove (the Devil Incarnate) on the Fox Channel today saying McCain has the best chance to win. If Rove is involved in McCain's campaign, you can expect some nasty stuff coming up (see Bush's Brain, a film about Rove and his dirty tactics---against McCain himself).



Saturday, September 27, 2008


Last Monday was our most recent Equinox. Instead of my usual biannual reflection and brainstorming, I've been pursuing a crash course in mental illnesses and how to deal with them. I'm also establishing boundaries and researching the "what if?" factor.

What if this person is arrested for unlawful behavior?

What if this person refuses to take medication that can help them (common with the mentally ill)?

What if they turn on me or suddenly disappear for weeks or months (another common pattern)?

What I find amazing is our ignorance as a culture on the subject of mental illness. Learning about it is enlightening. So many of us hide our experiences with mentally ill loved ones or refuse to speak or work publically to change the myths and stigma around the illness.

Such as saying "She's bipolar" instead of "She's got bipolar disease." A small but important linguistic definition.

In the meantime, I'm also in a group--for myself--where we are learning cognitive behavior therapies for our own anxiety and depression. We are basically reteaching ourselves to get out of old patterns and self-destructive or self-neglectful behaviors.

Add to that I had a small benign tumor the size of a small tomato removed from my right foot (7 stitches are still there), so at least I've had some time off the stressful job. What a blessing.

Funnily enough, the (Kaiser) doctors I've been in touch with all believe that our country should establish National Health Care. I love that. One doctor said McCain should have asked Hillary to be his VP partner. He also said with McCain's medical history, McCain is almost bound to have a recurrence of fatal cancer within the next 4 years. That leaves us with a moose hunter for President who will probably try her best to make abortion illegal along with a bunch of other medieval notions.

Looking at our national political situation, I keep thinking: "You couldn't make this up if you tried."

More soon I hope.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I'm always delighted when September comes around; I begin humming Brecht's "September Song". Summer isn't my favorite time. If I were across the Bay in SF with fog nearly every night, I'd be happy. Here in my sunny spot in Oakland, fog is a rarity. My little house faces west and during hot spells, my house warms up like an oven.

Today was my granddaughter's first day of kindergarten and I went with her mom and little brother to pick her up. She was quite poised with her Hello Kitty backpack and polka-dot shoes. Her teachers, Miss April and Miss Johnson were very sweet. My daughter-in-law, kids and I went out for burritos afterward.

I was surprised when logging into my blog to see that I've completed 100 posts. There are sometimes long spells in between them and I feel bad about that. But my life is full of demands of work and family.

Someone very close to me has developed what seems to be a mood disorder/mental illness and it is disconcerting, upsetting, gut-wrenching, but most of all exhausting. I've never been very good with boundaries and this has been a struggle for me. There's a lot of good info on the Net (and a lot of bad info) and I'm reading some books, researching it when I can. So scary and hard to understand because behaviors are not rational, sensible or predictable. Just "crazy". And not many of us can take much of that, even from a loved one.

On the bright side, we liberals have a good chance to kick the Republican bastards out and start cleaning up their god-awful mess. While watching Hillary's speech, I was delighted she mentioned Universal Health Care many times.

If this country provided Universal Health Care, I think our entire economy would radically change. I worked at shit jobs for years just to have insurance for my son and myself and I still work a job I'm not crazy about for the benefits. We could have an entrepeneurial revolution as well as a new Green Economy. So much potential.

My favorite example of revolutionary thinking is a project in Africa in a tiny village where people (meaning women) had to walk miles daily to fetch water. An engineer put in a playground-style merry-go-round that provides the energy to pump water from the distant source into the village so the women now have freedom from that chore. The kids of course love playing on the merry-go-round so there is energy to spare. Brilliant!