Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Talkin' Pedicure Blues

The other day, in a fit of something or other, I decided that the next time I get a pedicure I am going to get blue polish on my toe nails. Teal, royal, maybe a rich navy. Metallic, frosted, glitter....who knows but blue it shall be! 

I felt irrationally happy with this decision.

My usuals.
Please understand that this is a big deal for me. Being a traditionalist in many areas, I have always gone the route of the standard reds or pinks--- in essence, choosing colors that would look as good on the toes of a 1950’s woman as a woman of today. But the world is changing. 

Count me in, world—I ain’t dead yet!

Only in the last few years, have I dared to go darker with deep purples,eggplants and murky shades bordering on black. If I brood, so should my toe nails. And, truth be told, when wearing these less traditional colors, I feel wild.
A new direction?

So, because I've never had a thought that I have not almost immediately verbalized, I announced this decision about blue polish to the cats who care little about my toes but much about from whence cometh their next allotment of treats.

Suddenly, from deep within what I had thought was a pile of laundry, came a deep voice that said only one word and that word was "No."

I'd forgotten that Seth was home.

Seth works in Brooklyn. It's a long and harrowing daily drive to a stressful job so when he's not at work, driving to work or talking about driving to work, he sits in the recliner and, truth be told, hasn't said a full sentence in about 7 years.

It actually is this bad.
He just kind of rests and recovers from the Belt Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway, stupid drivers who “don’t know know their asses from their elbows (an unfortunate but common syndrome in these parts) as well as the engines at work which break down every other week regardless of his feelings.

I wonder who's under this...
I bring food down to his recliner on a regular basis and he has been known to make eye contact when he desires another dollop of my home made macaroni and cheese. But, for him to actually utter a word...and for that word to be about the color of my toenails, was startling to both me and the cats.

I jumped and looked around in alarm as the cats scampered from their cozy spots to parts unknown.

Turning to the pile of clothes, I started removing layers. Tossing t-shirts, pajama bottoms and as-of-yet unmatched socks aside, I uncovered his face and leaning down said, "No blue toenails?"

"No," he answered

Part of me was very excited that I might actually be having what I vaguely recall is called a conversation.

If memory serves, that's when two (or more) people actually communicate with established sounds that society has imbued with specific meanings...and these are called words. That they happened to be about the color of toe nail polish was moderately disappointing because I knew that after this "conversation," like the last one 7, or so, years before, there would be another period of lengthy silence as the poor man continues to recover from his commute.

These are words. Use them!
I am pretty sure our previous conversation was when I wanted to rent “The Notebook” on a Saturday night and that one started with “No,” too.

“Why?” I asked the pile of laundry on the chair.

“Because toe nails are supposed to be red or pink or coral. I don’t like that goth crap you’ve been doing lately, either.”

I was stunned. An opinion on toe polish? What else might be going on under the laundry...?

Is there anything else you’d like to tell me?

“Yes. I don’t like whole wheat pasta."

I had to sit down. No blue toe nails, no whole wheat pasta...what else?

Less of this...
More of this.

It turns out Seth has been doing more than resting under the pile of shirts,shorts and South Park leisure pants. It appears that he is very concerned about the economy, thinks Al Gore is a big idiot, wants more ice cream and reminded me that if I buy cherries, they should always be very firm because no one -- not even a pile of laundry on a recliner -- likes a mushy cherry.

I am hoping that this leads to more actual conversations in the future. While I do find the cats very engaging, words are fun to use....even if the person using them with you doesn't like blue toenails*.

None of this.

*Gonna to do it, anyway.

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Review of The 56th Grammy Awards

If you enjoyed this, please click here to read today's new post!

If you deny that you were anticipating my annual snarky review of the Grammy Awards, I refuse to believe you.

A legend in my own mind when it comes to reviewing award shows, I prefer to imagine that mine is the definitive voice when it comes to the hijinks of music's big night. And, yes, I am delusional....but here goes:

Let's begin with my very own Grammy acceptance speech: I would like to thank Metallica for providing me with the best night’s sleep I've had in a very long time. Is it that you, Metallica, are getting old or is that I am because, despite not being a fan of your genre, I have always saluted your talents and admired your work...

Last night, I fell asleep, awoke, rewound your performance on the DVR only to fall asleep again. By the third rewind, it was all over and I was lost to deep dreamless slumber except for one disturbing vignette about Katie Perry -- as a little girl -- being fitted for a training bra that's connected to the power grid.

Explain yourself, Pharrell.

Come morning, I awoke--- cats still tucked in beside me, to find a note from Seth recounting how I'd been sleep-shouting about someone named Pharrell wearing hats that were much too big for his head and Taylor Swift having to flee an angry mob because she'd blocked their view by dancing like Elaine from Seinfeld all night long.

For the love of God, SIT DOWN!!!

Taylor made Elaine look like a great dancer.

Last night’s Grammys were jam-packed and, besides providing entertainment, proved that music has -- to a great extent -- become true performance art as well as that getting married on national television never seems to get old.

Before and after rinsing out the
The evening began with Beyonce who, as always, looked gorgeous although she apparently forgot to rinse the conditioner out of her hair before taking the stage.

Alternately slinky and ferocious, she was as pelvically inclined as ever and waved her behind-to-die for around randomly until Jay-Z joined her on stage. Then she rubbed it all over him not unlike a cat trying to leave its scent. At first glance, all seemed right but more and more I find that Miss Bee seems to have lost some of her spontaneity. 

Lately, her practiced fierceness seems in danger of  becoming a caricature. Has it just become old hat, are the demands of  leaving instructions for the nanny too much or has her Svengali of a husband  something to do with it? Jay Z, I do not trust you.

Perked up by Katie Perry and her incomprehensible mix of Christian imagery and witches burning at the stake, and later by Pink twisting high above the crowd in a reprise of her incarnation as a circus performer, I started to get into the show. 

I need a diaper change.

...and I need to be burped after my bottle.
Pink, in mid-air as a live-singing aerialist, avoided injury until, at one point, back on earth and writhing about with a six-pack packing dancer, flipped over and landed very awkwardly on her head.

I guarantee you that today she is spending time with a large tube of IcyHot and some Advil. If you noticed, she looked as if  in pain during the subsequent duet with the fabulous Nate Ruess of Fun. Nate grew a beard so that, after the show, he is no longer forcibly strapped into a high chair alongside Bruno Mars. Nate wanted to attend the after-parties rather than be given a bowl of dry Cheerios and a juice box by child protective services like last year.

I am told they both travel in car seats that have been strapped into their limos.

Speaking of youthful performers, Taylor Swift – at 24 – is not the young vixen she used to be.

Not to mention that after having bedded everyone in the Grammy audience both in the auditorium and at home, she now must rely on fewer carnal experiences about which to pen reproachful songs.

The word on the street is that her newest anthem of drama and hurt, "All Too Well," sung last night at the piano, is a result of an encounter gone wrong when she tried to get the key for the rest room while on the road during a recent tour. Not only did the gas station attendant fail to request a co-selfie with her but someone else was in there already and she had to wait a minute or so before going pee pee. An enraged Taylor held the hapless employee responsible for the ensuing discomfort and disappointment---hence, the new song.

In fact, Taylor had a lousy night yesterday. Not only did she lose a Grammy to a young country upstart named Kacey Musgraves but she was so freaked out by Kacey’s hot breath on her neck that she told a reporter that Lorde has been seeking her advice via text and that two are very close. Okay…and Al Gore really did invent the internet.

What's up with those nails, young lady?
As for Lorde, I admit that I love that insanely popular song, “Royals.” What I did not like was the black dye she dipped her fingers in before last night's performance. I am assuming this was an attempt to be avant garde, but with the Polar Vortex on everyone's mind, she appeared in the final stages of frostbite....or to have just come from casting multiple ballots in some former dictatorship.

Also, isn't she avant-garde enough?

Althougth, at 17, Lorde is quite a bit younger than Bruno and Nate, she appears far more mature and was admitted into all the after-parties without a problem. Rumor has it that she ignored Taylor Swift who followed her around like a puppy all night.

This summer I listened to the contagious “Blurred Lines” about a billion times----by choice. Who could resist that cheerful and fun/slutty theme (except for the family of Marvin Gaye)? It made me totally forget that Robin Thicke cannot sing. Sure he’s cute but so is my cat Buzzy.

Yep, there's the face.
Robin’s strengths are making a funny little face that works only if he’s prancing around with naked women wrapped in Saran and Pharrell (minus all hats) in their hit video. Showcased with the band Chicago, Thicke had nada except his hair and gorgeous wife, Paula Patton, smiling at him from the front row.
"I don't pay my taxes."

As for singing, it may be time for Merle Haggard to call it a career since he appeared to be stone cold dead last night. Willie Nelson, ever-cool with his fabulous braids, also appeared mildly catatonic but remained rebellious nonetheless.

Add in Kris Kristlfferson (think of him opposite Babsy Streisand in the third remake of “A Star is Born and you’ll be okay) as they tried to regain their outlaw status without the great Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. I’m happy to report that once an outlaw, always an outlaw--the audience was very into it all and cheerfully sang along.

"We are available for bar mitzvahs."

I almost forgot to mention the pair of orthodox rabbis in the audience who, upon closer inspection, turned out to be Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon. Seated as far as they were from Paul and Ringo, it is now official that Yoko did, indeed, break up the Beatles.

What did I enjoy, you ask?

Well, I loved John Legend, Gary Clarke, Jr. and his duet with Keith Urban, my home girl, Carol King and any and all sightings of the modest, humble and totally awesome Smokey Robinson. I also rocked out to the animatronic figures known as Daft Punk (best work by Disney since The Hall of Presidents) and Ringo Starr's performance of “Photograph" (I could swear that was Peter Frampton playing guitar behind him). I am also always happy to see Stevie Wonder although I still maintain that whoever dresses him and does his hair does not actually like him.

Now for the conclusion…both mine and at last night’s Grammys: I want to warn all Macklemore and Lewis (the music industry's Penn and Teller) fans right now---I totally hate them.

From Macklemore’s ridiculous hand jabbing while he performs, his smug demeanor and tedious “raps,” I could not have been more bored or annoyed during their song “Same Love” or by the line-up of idiots who chose to get married in the aisles.

Is that what you people want to remember as your special day--Taylor Swift flossing her teeth...Yoko Ono in a top hat...Queen Latifah (still in the closet, herself) officiating...and much, much worse, Madonna---dressed all in white, face so botoxed and implanted with silicone that she looked like a badly done wax figure -- as your wedding singer??
She wore white during the weddings...
this, on the red carpet.

People wondered if that cane Madonna (looking more like the Crypt Keeper than Diane Keaton at the Golden Globes) leaned upon, was a prop. I knew immediately that it wasn’t because as a woman of  the same age, I walk exactly that way when I first rise from my sarcophagus bed, myself.

Last night’s Grammys were moderately entertaining, often terrifying and more often than not, preachy, self-conscious and stilted. I 
cannot wait for next year!

This amazing version of "Royals" is my favorite....and very addictive.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Peach Cologne and Charlie Brown

I have – mostly – learned to no longer bother with New Year’s resolutions.

In the past, they’ve been pretty typical…lose weight, take better care of my feet, win an Academy Award, etc. They are all broken by day three and I feel like a failure….but this year, I have only one and am determined to keep it.

Not too long ago, shoved to the back of a crowded closet shelf, I found an old jewelry box. Flocked in faded pink fleur de lis and fastened with a rusty clasp, I recognized it as my childhood treasure box.

Hugging it close, I carried it to the kitchen table awash with fond sentiment as I prepared to enjoy the memory surrounding each artifact within. It started out well--- there was the paper mache bracelet I made, a half-worn down eraser in the shape of a heart, even a tiny plastic treasure chest with a few of my baby teeth. Wow.

On the bottom, in a corner of the box, was a small bottle of “Peach Blossom” cologne. I remember the moment my aunt gave it to me. I was about eight and immediately fell in love with the bottle – graceful and tapered, its screw top was a perfect wooden blushing peach complete with fuzz.

 I was overjoyed to receive it; I’d never had my own cologne before. The closest I’d come to smelling pretty was a dab of my mother’s Jean Nate. She’d swipe it behind my ears when she used it after her bath. The cologne smelled just like a fresh sweet peach. I used it very rarely, dispensing it one tiny drop at a time, consciously saving it for special occasions that never seemed to come. The pretty bottle, it’s wooden peach no longer as bright, now held only dust that coated the fluted sides.

I know some of you remember Kean Nate.

In the box was also a nearly full pad of Charlie Brown stickers. I remember how delighted I’d been upon discovering them in my Christmas stocking so long ago.

Back then little girls wrote letters. I had a pen pal as well as school mates who’d moved away and note cards with violets and kittens flew back and forth between us. Often they had S. W. A. K. (sealed-with-a-kiss, of course) hand lettered on the back flap but these stickers had fun little sayings on them and were meant for a child’s envelope. I used them once or twice but decided that they were to be used only for the most important of missives. 
"I would have liked a letter with a
Charlie Brown sticker,"

Was I planning to write a letter to Richard Nixon, for goodness sake? Needless to say, the stickers were now curled up and discolored when I found them in the jewelry box.

 Just last week, I overheard a chat between Seth and Tommy about the merits of eating your favorite component of a meal first instead of following the conventional wisdom which advocates saving the best for last. 

They mocked this, insisting that favorite things should be eaten first since you are hungriest then and, therefore, would savor them more. I sat back and blinked at this logic. How often did I save the mashed potatoes for the end, finding them cold and my appetite dulled? Well, damnit.

Add all this tangible evidence to my natural inclination to bemoan the past, eternally fret over my personal catalog of mistakes as well as obsess about what the future may hold ( but, please, boys, do check out that nursing home thoroughly before you slap me in there and prance merrily away, content that Mom is now “taken care of”) and there was a bit of an epiphany to be had. “Susan Says…” is damn well going to try to focus on today, the proverbial here and now---the present.

That is my resolution. I’m working on it already. It might just take care of the other stuff as a side benefit since it should make me more aware and pro-active about life in general, don’t you think? I have already placed the ancient bottle of peach cologne dust on the dresser as a reminder. If you open the lid and press your nose to the top, you can still get a nice whiff.  

Happy, healthy new year to all. Love, Susan, Seth and the Cats.