Category Archives: Susezit

CHRISTMAS by Susezit


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Well, it’s almost here…Christmas Eve. After all the weeks of hurried preparation and anticipation, the gifts will be unwrapped, the food eaten, the libations poured, the carols sung.  All will wind down to a relaxing yawn and feet up on the couch.

This holiday is a quiet one for me, unlike years past when my kids were young. Life has evolved into a solitary calm where I have the time to ponder the meaning of this magical night. Right now there is a soothing silence, and while I’ll still recall with fondness the craziness and excitement of Christmas’s past, I’ll enjoy the contented peace of right now.

I took a walk early this morning and admired the beauty of the sunrise. I tried to push the rigors and pandemonium of this Christmas season out of my head.  As I turned around to walk back, I spied the full moon lazily drifting off into the invisibility of the morning light. Amidst all the gaiety of the season and serious maddening rush, the fact that nature carries on serenely with the rising of the sun and setting of the moon, with birds flying, rabbits scurrying and deer peering through the brush is somehow heartening.  It is ageless and has been evolving in this manner since the beginning of time. Continue reading CHRISTMAS by Susezit


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The most wonderful, albeit craziest time of the year is upon us…somewhere between Halloween and New Year’s Day. This is the most hectic period when we will run around and exhaust our fleeting energies in preparation for the holidays. We will more than likely not take the time to stop and smell the roses. And when it’s all said and done we will look back and say either “that was the best time,” or more likely, “is that all there is?”

I have lived most of my life in anticipation of what would come tomorrow. I have to tell you that I’ve missed or have not appreciated a lot of what happened in the present while I was busy looking to the future. Sort of like the quote in John Lennon’s, “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” Life happens while you’re making other plans. I was a big dreamer who had lofty ideas of how my life was going to turn out. Some of those dreams came true, but most did not. Shooting for the stars was not what it was all cracked up to be. Sometimes when I look back in my “coulda, woulda, shoulda” mind-set, I wonder about how I could have lived those days differently in the now, instead of wasting time dreaming about the tomorrows. I wonder about the life that happened and how I could have appreciated it more by living with a different mind-set in the present.

Continue reading Anticipation

Indian Summer

Susan October Indian Summer

According to Wikipedia, an Indian summer is a heat wave that occurs in the autumn.  It refers to a period of above-normal temperatures (70 degrees), accompanied by dry and hazy conditions, usually after there has been a killing frost.  The North American Indians – native Americans – depended upon periods of fine, quiet, sunny weather at this time of year to complete their harvest to see them through the winter. Thus, the name.

We in the Northeast section of the United States happen to be in the middle of a gorgeous Indian summer right now. These are perfect beach days with comfortably warm temperatures and sunny blue skies, not that I’ve had time to go to the beach. As the massive flocks of birds fly overhead as if they were in an Alfred Hitchcock movie, heading for the South for winter, they seem to pause to rest on our electrical lines.  Maybe they’re a little confused about whether to come or go since the weather is beautifully comfortable right here, right now.  And although I enjoy all things autumn including chilly sweater days, apples and pumpkin picking for pies and the return to hardy meals of soup, chili and stews, I have to say that I’m enjoying this last burst of summer before the cold sets in.

As kids, my Mom used to have us looking forward to the warm days of Indian Summer as if it were a magical happening like a blue moon or eclipse.  Why?  I’m not really sure.  But she had us anticipating this enchanting time of year as if it were Christmas.  “I wonder when Indian summer will come?” she used to say. “We won’t put the summer clothes away quite yet because Indian summer is coming soon.” On and on she went. And as we trudged off to school in our heavy sweaters, we knew that the special unseasonably warm days were coming when we’d be able to wear our shorts and summer clothes for one more brief time. Sort of like a last hurrah.  Looking back I guess it was kind of weird.

Eventually the chill of autumn and then winter will return. But I still look forward to Indian summer like a kid, and now that it’s happening, I can’t help but think of my Mom and how much she loved it. I’ll never be sure of why and for what reason she loved it so much since she’s been gone for quiet some time. But in any case, it’s a warm reminder of her.

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Juror No. 4 

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You receive your notice in the mail for jury duty.  I can hear the heavy sigh.  I imagine that’s what most of us do when the summons arrives. “How can I get out of this,” is probably the next question going through your mind. ARGHHH!!!  I just don’t have time for this!!!


But I have no good enough reason; so on the appointed day, after three days of checking the website to see if my number came up, I am summoned to report. It was a bright, sunny summer morning as I waited to go through the security check at the entrance of the courthouse. Too nice to be here. I’ll just get this jury duty thing over with and then I can get on with the rest of summer, I think.  I walked down the hall and waited in line to be checked in and then was seated in a room that resembled a holding pen with about a couple hundred people. Some looked bored; others nervous and a few annoyed as they read, drank coffee and looked down at their phones. I am people watching and imagining their stories. Everyone is now known by a number which they were assigned, and we are called by such and lined up to be taken to the courtroom upstairs.  This first group seems to be about 50 strong. As we enter the courtroom, I’m thinking it resembles a movie set.  I’m a little excited because I’m always looking for the drama!


As we sit on the benches, the judge asks if there is anyone who feels they cannot serve, and most of the hands in the room go up.  Then he asks for a show of hands of those who feel they can serve.  There are maybe 12 of us left that are willing. There is a lot of tension in the room, and people are stressed awaiting their turn to be questioned on why they think they cannot serve.  They are individually taken to a sidebar and questioned while annoying “white noise” is played in the courtroom so the conversations can’t be heard. For this particular case, they have already gone through one day of selection, and at the moment, there are eight jurors in the box and nine are needed for this case.  Oh good, I think.  They’re only looking for one more person, so I doubt I’ll even be questioned.  Once they’ve weeded out the nays, they start calling the yays one number at a time.


The judge asks a series of questions to the potential juror.  Then the person has to tell a little about themselves… age, schooling, job, family members and what they do, leisure activities, where they get their news, etc. Some are interesting and funny; some are boring.  After the “getting to know you” dissertation, the person is brought for a sidebar where the judge and the five attorneys surround you.  The white noise is played, and another series of more probing questions are asked that will determine your views on certain subjects that regard the case.  Based on all of this, you are either excused or asked to take a seat in the jurors’ box.


Randomly, people seated are dismissed and another juror is chosen.  All the same questions, the white noise, more questions, seated or not. Over and over. I get even more nervous then I already am.  The selection is down to four people then three then two.  I get called. Oh no.  I sit in the vacated seat in the box fidgeting as the questions are read. No, no, no, no, yes, yes, yes.  On it goes.  Then I have to stand and tell about myself.  I don’t think my life is all that interesting, but as I talk, I see some smiles and nodding, so maybe they like what I’m saying?  Is it funny?  Is it not? Who knows?!  I am motioned to the notorious sidebar as the judge and lawyers gather round.  Being surrounded by this many kind of handsome men makes me nervous, and I start to sweat. The judge asks some difficult questions. I find myself at times losing my train of thought. Their eyes are piercing. I ask the judge to repeat a very long three-part question.  One lawyer repeats what I have answered. Did I really say that? Yikes, they really are listening and taking notes. In the end I am seated as Juror No. 4.  They must have liked something I said, only I don’t have a clue what it could be since I felt like a babbling idiot.


A jury member remarks that we should not be nervous…the plaintiff and the defendant should be nervous because we have their future in our hands.  What a thought.  I mean, who am I to be determining the fate of these people?  Why am I seated as a juror?  I just don’t know.  I don’t know what they are looking for.  I would imagine everyone else is thinking the same thing. We watch the same process unfold over and over again. There is only one original juror left that was chosen on the first day. I can only describe the picking and choosing as a brilliant game of chess.


Then the judge makes a poignant statement.  He says that besides serving in the military, serving as a juror is probably the next most important thing you can do for your country. With that having been said, my whole perspective changes.  Suddenly, I am not nervous anymore.  I am proud to be there and want to serve. I actually feel honored to be chosen. The day drags on with the same process, questioning, choices and dismissals. At the end of the day, another juror is dismissed leaving a vacant seat. We are eight and need a ninth. It’s very tiring, but at the end of the day, I’m still Juror No. 4 and holding.


Monday arrives with a whole new selection pool. The judge says that the selection would be over today, and the trial’s opening arguments would be presented in the afternoon. So today could be my first actual day of jury duty, or it could be the last. I am “in the box” at the moment as opposed to “on the benches” with those awaiting selection.  We sit through the questioning again and again. Finally, in the afternoon, there are 9 jurors.  The lawyer representing the defendant stands and says they are satisfied with this jury. It looks like I’m in! I’ll be Juror No. 4 for this trial. Then the two lawyers from the plaintiff’s side start conferring. They look the jury over and over and whisper to one another. I wonder if I’ll be the next to go. Then they look at me and then down at their notes. I stare at them, and they look away. Uh-oh. One stands and dismisses me. What?!?!  But I want to serve, I think to myself!  I’m one of the ones who want to serve!  The lawyers thank me for my service.  The judge thanks me as well.  They are very sincere in their appreciation for those who have responded to the call. I nod and say that it has been a pleasure as I awkwardly climb over the other jurors making my way to the door.  I look back one more time and smile.  It would have been so cool to be a part of this case.  Oh well. I walk down the hall to the exit kind of bummed. Another time; another place…like in three years when you are up again.


The thing is, though, if you get chosen for jury duty, change your perspective and just do it. It’s painless, and it’s an excellent way to serve your country. The alternative, as in a lot of other countries, is that a dictator determines your fate instead of your peers. And what if you were put in the position of needing to go on trial for one reason or another and had a bunch of people making up lame excuses to get out of it? By serving your jury duty, you are keeping our democracy strong…by the people and for the people and all that. So just do it!



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Old Friends

like bottles cast out to sea

in time, though lost

and tossed

and searching

somehow always find their way to shore again.


Memories are too strong

bittersweet years

filled with laughter and tears

they live on.


Years pass…yet time stands still

Everyone grows…yet nothing has changed

You turn around and yesterday’s child is still there

the people the same

the warmth alive

the love aglow

and I’m thankful to know

that the good memories outweigh the bad

and the happy times more than the sad are remembered.


As life goes on and people fade in and out

I realize more and more

that the oldest friends are the dearest

and the times we shared the most cherished

and our lives together

have only mellowed and aged

like fine vintage wine.

Because You Can

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Do you ever consider doing something simply because you can?

susan july pic

I read a phrase this morning from my daily devotional describing an early morning wake-up call from a bird just outside an open window. The bird tweeted (literally) softly breaking the silence of the night. With that, he/she led the way for all the other birds that slowly followed suit filling the air with the reverberation of a melodious cacophony. The writer made the observation that the bird sang simply because he could and led the way for a symphony of nature’s orchestra at their finest.

Consider all the things you do in a day that you take for granted. Getting out of bed, making your breakfast, driving your car, working, taking care of your children, walking, running, biking, swimming.  Some of these things others can’t do and wished they could.

We are all given specific gifts and talents that were especially designed just for us.

Take me, for instance. I love to write. Good, bad or indifferent, it comes to me fairly easily. I get an idea and usually go for it. So I write because I can. A doctor heals because he/she can, a teacher teaches, a fisherman fishes, a salesperson sells, a dancer dances, a government official leads, mothers have children, all because they can. On and on it goes. Every person you come in contact with follows suite. Not only every person, but every being. Birds sing and fly, fish swim, cats meow, dogs bark…you get the picture. It comes naturally. It’s a gift.

What a travesty it would be not to use the gifts you have been blessed with simply because you choose not to. Consider the alternative.  What would happen if the morning songbirds decided not to sing…how eerily quiet.  Or the sun didn’t rise…how dark and depressing.  Or you couldn’t walk or see or hear or be a productive being on the earth?

Are you doing something simply because you can? I hope so. You never know what a beautiful, melodious cacophony it will lead to.  One you actually start and are part of, so just try.  Just do it.  Because you can.


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Ok, I have a confession to make. I have a weird addition…to guacamole. Yes, yes, it’s true. Any other kind of dip just will not do.  It started during a trip to Ft. Lauderdale where I had the undisputable pleasure of visiting Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar.  If you’re ever in Florida and have a weakness for Mexican food, you’ve got to pay them a visit and check it out. The food was estupendo, and the guacamole, prepared fresh at your table, was mucho magnífico!!!  Add a pitcher of prickly pear margaritas and you’re good to go!

I’ve been experimenting with guacamole ingredients ever since and have concocted one I think is pretty close.  With the summer party season upon us, there is no better time to give it a shot and let me know. (And don’t forget the margaritas!)




½ cup finely chopped red onion

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

2 Roma tomatoes diced

1 lime freshly squeezed

 (Mix the above ingredients together and set aside.)

4 ripe Hass avocados peeled and seeded (cut in half – take out seed – scoop out flesh)

1 tbsp. salt

1 tsp. ground pepper

¼ cup firmly-packed chopped fresh cilantro

8 dashes hot sauce (Texas Pete)

(Mash avocados; add salt, pepper and cilantro and hot sauce.)

Mix chopped mixture into mashed mixture.  Add more salt if needed to your taste. Also, if you like it hotter, add more sauce or you can chop up a chili pepper. I didn’t use a chili pepper because I’m not a hotty 🙂

Let set a few minutes then serve immediately with fresh tortilla chips. If you must, store tightly covered in refrigerator but not for too long – it turns brown quickly.

Until I get back to Rocco’s again, this recipe will have to do – in the meantime, all I can say is olé!

Sweet Nectar of Youth

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The sweet scent of honeysuckles engulfed my senses this morning as I walked Bella along the causeway to the bay.  I was immediately thrown back in time where as a little girl I walked along the path to Switlik Park where these gorgeous little flowers grew wild on a hedge. Along with my best friend Gayle, we passed them hundreds of times during the course of our childhood. We would pick the white flowers and suck on their sweet nectar as we talked a lot about nothing at all on lazy summer days. The taste and fragrance of the sweet blossoms is forever embedded in my memory.

Those were simpler times without worry, at least for two little girls growing up in small town Yardville, New Jersey. Early each summer morning we would walk to the neighborhood pool for swimming lessons. We’d go home for lunch and then walk back again where we’d swing on the swings, belly laugh as we tried to “bump” each other off the seesaw or explore the woods.  It was a safer world. We’d go back to the pool where we’d play games in the water until we’d turn blue then lounge in the warm sun all afternoon talking about boys.

I feel sorry for the kids today who don’t enjoy the simpler pleasures like we did; those who stay indoors and waste their time on gadgets and computers, video games and TV. They’ll never have the opportunity to enjoy discovering tadpoles in the creek or baby birds nesting. I’m glad we didn’t have all that technology that now occupies all of our time and energy. The obesity that’s so rampant in the youth of this generation just didn’t seem to exist way back when. Kids in my “Stone Age” years never sat still long enough.  We were always outside “getting some fresh air” as my Mom would say, with lots of walking, running or riding our bikes around the neighborhood. We’d make up hundreds of games using nothing but our imaginations. Back home for dinner we’d go, then outside once more to catch lightning bugs and play hide and seek in the dark with all the neighborhood kids. We fell into bed exhausted only to start over the next day.

It’s amazing how you can be catapulted back in time to reminisce about those almost forgotten days by the unexpected whiff of a flowering bush. It’s a reminder of how grateful I am for the gift of my childhood…and for the gift of honeysuckles.

A Tisket, A Tasket

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I saw a commercial recently wherein they asked a few little kids what Easter meant to them. One little boy said:  “Well, my Grandmom likes Jesus, so she gives me a chocolate cross.”

I like Jesus, too, and so did my Mom, so as a kid I also got a chocolate cross in my Easter basket every year.  It was usually white chocolate, my favorite at the time. I would hold off eating it until everything else was devoured, for what reason I’m not sure.  Maybe in a way I was saving the best for last. I was a pushover for all those once-a-year goodies like coconut nests with jelly bean eggs, coconut cream eggs with a yellow “yolk” middle, chocolate bunnies and hens, malt balls shaped into colorful eggs and jelly beans galore, including my favorite – black licorice flavored.  I’m drooling as I write this.

Easter meant getting a new little outfit to wear along with a hat of some sort, white gloves and frilly white anklet socks. (Yes, I was such a priss.) One year when I was about seven, I wore a pale green derby that matched a little green pleated skirt and jacket. I was thrilled with it and wore it all day since it looked like a very proper English horse riding outfit and horses were my passion at the time.

Easter meant sunny warm weather, the sweet smell of hyacinths and bright yellow forsythia bushes in bloom. It was sneaking that first taste of a chocolate bunny before Mass after a Lenten season of “giving it up.”  It was a yummy dinner of ham and kielbasa with homemade babka with fresh butter and potato salad. It was sitting outside on the steps of my grandparents’ row home in the Polish section of Trenton afterwards with my cousins playing games we made up.

Easter meant family all together with good food, fun with my cousins, laughter, lots of love and a white chocolate cross to remind me that Jesus likes me and He likes you, too!


“Top of the Mornin’ to Ya!”

susan march

“Top of the Mornin’ to Ya!” my dear friend Mr. Murphy would shout out in greeting. “And the rest of the day to yerself!” I’d reply in a terrible Irish brogue. He would belly laugh, which would make me happy.  Éirinn go brách!

Mr. Murphy – Bernard John Murphy – was my best friend, mentor and confidant. I addressed him always as “Mr. Murphy,” although in later years he insisted I call him John. I was a mere 19 years old starting a new job at Ingersoll-Rand when our paths first crossed. I was just a kid, and he a seasoned 50-something patent attorney happily married to Margaret “his bride” of many years and father of 11 children. We hit it off immediately, sharing a quirky sense of humor which sparked a lifelong friendship. We reveled at pulling practical jokes on each other and co-workers on almost a daily basis.  He made that job the most fun I’ve ever had in the workplace.

My own father was very serious, and we never really saw eye to eye. Mr. Murphy stepped up to become the fun paternal figure who understood my hopes and dreams and encouraged me every step of the way.  We shared the love of writing, and through the years I received countless letters and notes and newspaper clippings from him.  I saved each and every one. Every now and then when I’m missing him, which is often, I’ll go through my stash of his letters, pick one out and he is with me, talking with me, encouraging me, stroking my ego and making me feel like I can do anything in the world I set my sights to do. He always made me feel special.

Couldn’t let March 14th – Mr. M.’s “natal day” as he would call it – go by without a shout.  His birthday, although a few days short of March 17th, is synonymous with his favorite and most revered holiday St. Patrick’s Day.  In 2006 I flew to Indiana to surprise him for his 80th birthday and to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day with him.  We wore green, ate, drank and laughed until we cried, sharing corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Crème. It was a grand celebration, and that special time will be etched in my heart forever. It was to become the last time we would spend together. His kids, who share his sense of humor, listed me as his adopted twelfth child in his obituary.

So I make a toast to you, my dear friend, and until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand.


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