Chirping Bird

When Everything above looks darkest

The bluest sky turned grey.

I think of you, chirping bird,

Flown away


A blade of grass set just so

Between above, below

Your beak, orange-ish-yellow hue

Bids adieu

Good (Fri)Day, Sir!

April 3, 2010

These days, I operate on such a random, seat-of-my-trousers schedule that I rarely acknowledge the days of the week in the same strict manner as the average bear.   For me, seldom do I greet Fridays with a hearty, “TGIF!”  or even with the common Facebook Status update, “Susan Myhr Fritz is…MARGARITAS! OMG! So happy it’s Friday!” 

Friday no longer feels the way it did when I was in school or when I had that 9-to-5 i-banker gig at Lehman Bros.  It’s not a “time to get Blizzards at DQ” night or a “time to get hammered with the fellas at free happy hour-at-the-expense-of-our-investors” night.   Apparently, at a little past 6 PST, Friday has become “sit-at-coffee-shop-and-write-inconsequential-yet-informative-blog-post” night.

But like Boris Karloff tells us in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, “He hadn’t stopped (Friday) from coming, it came! Somehow or other, it came just the same!” In this case, Boris would be referring (if he actually had been) to Good Friday, which is today, which is the Friday before Easter Sunday in the Christian tradition (don’t ask me how the Scientologists celebrate it…I’m not going to supply a  hyperlink for those characters).      

Even though I know what Good Friday symbolizes, I thought it would be both entertaining and illuminating to search for it on the Google and see what our friends in Cyber-space have to say. 

Please keep in mind, this post is not trying to mock Good Friday or ridicule any of the good people I will quote below, so please: no parent phone calls or letters-to-the-editor about how, “this time you’ve gone to far, Suz…too far indeed!”  It’s all in the name of fun and facts…well, sort of.  You will understand in time.

With that disclaimer, let’s take a look-see at what blogger Mary Fairchild has to say in response to “Why is Friday Good?”.  The sarcastic (but encouraging) commentary in bold italics is mine.

Mary: Each year before Easter, I like to ask this question and consider the interesting and evoking answers I receive from readers. 

Ok, Mary.  Go ahead, please.

Mary: But first, lest there be any doubt, let’s answer the question, “What is Good Friday?” (and…go!) Good Friday is always observed on the Friday before Easter Sunday.  (I already answered this, but thanks for clarifying). On this day Christians commemorate the passion, or suffering, and death by crucifixion of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Many Christians spend this day in fasting, prayer, repentance, and meditation on the agony and suffering of Christ on the cross. (or in coffee shops on their way to see Pinetop Perkins in concert).

Mary: So, you might wonder then, why is Good Friday “good?” (yes, Mary, that IS what we’ve been waiting to hear).
Here’s how some readers have responded to the question: (hey–you’re dodging the very question you posed?  I’m confused).

“It’s a good Friday because of Sunday. For the disciples, Friday was the end of everything. But they didn’t know what would happen on Sunday. It’s a good Friday because we know that Sunday’s coming. Death on Friday–new life on Sunday.'” -Eddie

(Ok…fair enough, Eddie.  Ummm…this is awkward…where’s Mary?  Mary, a word, please).

“Good Friday is ‘good’ because even though Jesus suffered, he did it for us, to take away our sins. It’s the ultimate act of love. What could be more ‘good’ than that?!” – Booktree

Ok, I asked for Mary, but Booktree does have a valid point.  Tell you what?  Let’s just say that Good Friday is like a playoff game, a preview to a Blockbuster Film, the appetizer before the main course, the sun-salutation before the standing pose…and so on.  I am exhausted now.  I think I will just call it a (Good Fri) Day. 

P.S.  Happy Good Friday.  Enjoy the fish.

From the Hip(ster)

March 30, 2010

3 pieces of evidence

The following is going to be on the “unprecedented” side for me and the staff at All the Suz (which reminds me, “Ron, could you go to Rite Aid and get me another 12-pack of that zero-calorie White Grape knock off stuff…thanks, kid, you’re a doll and I mean that”).  It’s not only a “to be continued…” All the Suz, but a “Choose Your Own Suzventure” edition.  You will see what I mean as soon as I do, but for now, hold on to your fedoras, fellas…hide the kids, ladies, ’cause this one’s gonna be more tumultuous than Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.    

Oh, and I didn’t mean to, but mention of the word “doll” (thank you, Ron, and I still mean it) inadvertently provides me with a mean segue to the topic at hand, which–full disclosure–contains disturbing and violent content and is not suitable for anyone…not even the twisted characters upon which it is based…not even (da da da dum…) Hipsters!  According to the Urban Dictionary (and yes, it’s often urbane), Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.  It goes on and on, but, much in the spirit of hipsterism, I’ve included a hyperlink , so please go and read it yourself…I simply ‘aven’t room for such mean drivel.  

Another view

At any rate, I live in a neighborhood with an abundance–some might say a surplus–of Hipsters.  Last night, after walking home from yoga (pot: meet kettle; kettle: pot) in a roundabout way and going up this huge staircase that is also a hallmark of Echo Park and its neighboring neighborhood, Silver Lake, I ran across the following images, which speak for themselves.  What they say, I am not sure.   

That’s where you, dear handful of readers, come in.  I need your help a la those childhood paperbacks, in choosing a story for what exactly went down with the doll.  How did she come to her demise?  Who and how many hipsters were involved in the attack?  Was it an accident?  Did it involve and espresso beverage and/or Heineken?  Or, was it even more trend-based?  

Yet another view


Was this a crime of passion driven by PBR?  You decide. 

Post your thoughts, clues, and/or evidence to this page and, for heaven’s sake: lock up your dolls.

And so it begins with a thought.  And so it begins with…I was just thinking:

I walk down the street.  I cross several lanes of traffic outside of safe crosswalk boundaries.  I smile at some but not at others. I experience the exchange of pleasantries a person does with this person and not that.  I experience a roomful of yogis clap for efforts from two students but not three.  I also read a great deal of Virginia Woolf during my college years, so forgive my mid-20s pseudo-Modernist tendencies, but…

In the past I did not believe the end of this paragraph.  It sounds cliché.  It is cliché.  Truth is cliché.  Truth includes periods (.) where there should semi-colons (;).  But despite the difficulties of the day, my day–any day–now two days ago–I know this to be true: We,  “Us” who call ourselves Homo Sapiens or Human Beings—are put on this earth to experience Joy. 

Wait a minute!  Reader, don’t get your shorts in a bunch with cries of “But Suz, that’s pure selfishness!  How can you say that?  What about others?”  I am asking you politely to wait a cotton-pickin’ minute while I explain.  Number one, I am the first to admit my many moments of torture throughout a day, self-induced or otherwise.  For example, I was walking home from yoga, which I’ve managed to do every day since returning to LA with 3 double-header days…(yes, that’s 3 hours of yoga per day), when I passed Ms. Donut…

Ms. Donut and her artery-clogging ilk are shops as common as Starbucks or McDonald’s here in LA, but her brand of bold-authenticity (and feminist-inspired name…is she married? Is she single? She doesn’t need you to know!) drew me in like a Krispy Kreme (now featuring banana doughnuts…yikes!) in generic doughnut’s glazed coating.  Besides, I was overly hungry from my yoga class and instead of getting “real” food, I decided to opt for a “snack” and, potentially, some iced-coffee depending upon whether or not the “iced coffee” would be “coffee over ice” or “cold coffee with ice”…yes, there is a huge difference.  

For some reason, like my favorite bagel store in NYC, David’s Bagels (I am inconsolable about its closure), Ms. Donut is owned by an Asian family.  And unfortunately, they seem to know their stuff.  I say “unfortunately” because I do not moonlight as a 13-year-old growing teenage boy.  I do not possess the caloric requirements of a Michael Phelps.  In fact, I was walking home, in LA—not the most walking-friendly of places, after a difficult 1.5 hour yoga class.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  I’m not a person who (despite what people think sometimes) is naturally thin.  I have to work at it.  Those who knew me in elementary school when the coach said “guard the big girl” can attest to this.  The Suz, if left to her own devices, would weigh approximately 300 pounds.  And here is one of the reasons why: baked goods!  I ended up walking into Ms. Donut for a muffin…maybe even a “healthy” croissant if it looked worthy.  But oh, no!  I spied an apple fritter that looked potentially delicious…and I’m here to tell you: it was.  Why bring this up…hold on, I have to look back a few paragraphs…thanks for waiting. 

I bring it up to say that I felt tortured for the rest of the afternoon because of 2 seconds of dangerous deliciousness.  It brought me joy for 2 seconds, and although it didn’t last, for those 2 seconds, it was a type of joy.  So what does last?  What is a kind of authentic Joy?  Is this something only the Buddha or the Dalai Lama or Jennifer Garner can experience in this life?

An airport event leads me to an answer of sorts.  I was recently on an oversold flight with scores of cranky passengers…more than one somebody was gonna be bumped.  A woman, her husband, and 2 kids were next in line.  She was also on the verge.  I stepped in and took a later flight.  Problem solved…and yet the woman came up to me with tears of gratefulness.  I felt Joy.  That feeling was lasting, and the amount of effort required by me was minimal. 

Our purpose in life is to experience Joy, and our experience of Joy most often comes from helping others.  Wow—now that I see that written down it surely does sound as cheesy as Joel Osteen’s The Purpose Driven Life (who, by the way,makes bank for some reason).   I believe our Purpose actually involves a form of selfishness.  That selfishness does not, however, diminish the effect we have on others when it intersects with a sincere and helpful regard for our fellow human beings. 

FYI: it is cloudless and in the mid-70s here in Los Angeles (see link to Weather Channel to your right).  In my opinion it is an indisputably gorgeous day…but 2 minutes ago I heard a conversation involving the phrase, “this isn’t my favorite time of year”.  This leads me to believe that people are nuts, which opens up the possibility that Suz is also nuts, which means: take this post with a grain of 100% Kosher Sea Salt from the Mediterranean.  If I’m wrong, though, what a great way to be wrong and a terrific way to live.  If I can live within this philosophy for even 10% of the day, I feel like I am doing something right.  The rest of the time, I don’t fail—I just fall short.  It’s like falling out of ardha chandrasana.  It’s a beautiful-looking pose, but it is really not that difficult when the entire body is engaged.  We yogis just forget about our toes and our bandhas every second or 2 (alright…yoga homework!)

And that’s as much cheese as the Suz can squeeze for the lactose-intollerant reader today.

The Sound of Sirens

March 27, 2010

Hello readers, my dear friends…it’s time to write to you again…

I woke up this morning before the “gong” setting on my Blackberry Bold (which I am struggling to get Polar Ice gum off of after an earlier gum-chewing accident) had a chance to sound.  I woke up, friends, to the Sound of Sirens (to be read aloud in your best Kim Jong Il in Team America impression).  Luckily, my air mattress is next to the wall and I cannot possibly wake up the wrong side of the bed.  This, combined with my consistently winning attitude about life, meant that I was not annoyed, concerned, or disturbed by these blaring signals of “danger afoot”.  Nope, instead the sweet radio in my head switched on and greeted me with a Weird Al-meets-the-Suz variation on Simon & Garfunkel’s hit tune, “The Sound of Silence“.  Mind you,  it was seven-thirty-four in the AM–pre-yoga, so I was a bit cold and less-than-alert.  A close call ensued when, in my groggy state, I reached to pat myself on the back so hard I nearly dislocated my arm!   Yowzers!  I am ok, although your e-cards and flowers are welcome. 

In reality, few would classify a siren as a form of “white noise”, and I am not about to make that claim either.  Since I lived for so many years in New York City, I likely find the sound oddly soothing because of its familiarity.  But I think it’s also related to growing up near train tracks.  During the night–and only at night, the blaring horn-like whistle of the great Burlington Northern freight train would pass by.  As my mom Linda likes to relate, when I was but a wee Suz and suffered from some nasty ear infections and stomach troubles, she would sit up with me and count the train cars until either she or I fell asleep.  That and the vacuum or a ride in the car would knock me out better than Joe Louis Barrow beat down Welsh boxer Tommy Farr in a 15-round marathon match. 

“This is all well and good, Suz, but do you have anything more interesting to tell us today?”  Well, that’s a bit rude for my taste, but as a matter of fact, yes!  How about this to top a siren: Helicopters at 2 AM!   Not too terribly long after Puck’s magic potion had rendered mine eyes heavy,  I awoke to the sound of a helicopter!  I found this to be quite exciting (although I’m asking you not to tell Linda…she worries).  I have already seen a handful of LAPD car-chases involving search lights and the whole nine yards, but a helicopter at 2 AM elicited all my rough-and-tumble Los Angeles stereotypes.  From the center of my mind’s eye sprung forth mythological characters like Johnny Cochran and Judge Ito.  All of a sudden I was there–it was there: the bloody glove, the chase…ah, 1995! In my sleepy air-mattress stupor I almost had myself convinced that there would be a knock on the door, a “ma’am” has this man been hiding in your garden?” as the cops flashed an outdated headshot of the former NFL/Hertz Rent-a-Car star.  But…no such luck.

Apparently I fell back asleep and woke up to the Sound of Sirens. 

Joseph MacGuillard has the week off.

The staff here at All the Suz is not nor does it endorse totalitarian regimes.  Generally speaking, we don’t boss you around, but today, that trend ends…and we admit, collectively, “we done you wrong”.  We, the large but humble staff at the Suz, are feeling bold, daring, and more than a little insistent in giving you an order…and even though we should have insisted earlier, if you miss out now, you have no one to blame but yourself. 

The staff also recognizes that the following will seem “impossible” to some of you in far away states, countries, and/or planets, since it involves living in or taking a trip to the Big Apple or, as its know, “Suz’s Sity”, but I don’t want to hear your excuses.  There’s a reason they invented that moving vehicle in the sky know as the airplane, ok?  And if you’re afraid of flying or strapped for cash, hitchhike.  Those boots were made for crossing the country in a strange bearded man’s semi-truck.

I’m hoping that’s what you’ll do–or, at the very least, you will click the nice, convenient hyperlink I have set up for you and go to the page of Anastasia Photo, where David Wright has his solo photography exhibit on display until March 31.  This is no small peanuts, people!  And if you’ve been paying attention since the inaugural edition of the WordPress Edition of All the Suz that’s Fit to Print, you will recognise Mr. Wright as my filmmaking partner (the more talented, less sarcastic half) of our short documentary Carry Me Home, filmed in the Mississippi Delta (just scroll down to the first post…is that too much to ask after all I’ve done for you?).  

In all seriousness, if you can, you should go to this Lower East Side gallery and look at the photographs in person, because art is great on a computer screen or in a book, but there is nothing like seeing a photo up close and personal.  In fact, whenever I go to a museum, I am one of those patrons you have to keep an eye on because I will go right up to the photo or piece of art and practically put my nose on it.  It’s amazing to see the detail and dimension in person and it gives you an appreciation for the skill involved in its creation.  One of my favorite Linda moments ever (to digress for a second) was when she visit me in Philadelphia my freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania (Not Penn State).  We went to the breathtaking Philadelphia Museum of Art (yes, home of the Rocky steps).  It was one of her few lifelong trips to a bona fide museum (unless you count the Charles M. Russell Museum in my hometown of Great Falls, where Cowboy Art is king), and I’ll never forget how she leaned over to me and sheepishly but most sincerely asked, “Suz, do you suppose that’s the real thing?”  It was a Picasso if I recall, and yes, it was the “real thing”. 

There is another reason you should heed my order, and that is because if you or someone you know is interested in supporting an organization which actually achieves what many only aspire to (which is promote sustainable change within a community–in this case, Uganda), you should really consider supporting A River Blue, which was the inspirational genesis of David’s photographs.  If you are one of my well-connected Ivy-league buddies, you should simply purchase as many prints as possible to show your support, since a substantial part of the proceeds goes directly to A River Blue.  I will even give you a special All the Suz shout-out, and like the credit card commercial says, that is “Priceless”.

To recap: sites to discover: David Wright Photography; A River Blue; Anastasia Photo; Barefoot Workshops

That’s like, 4 hyperlinks in a row.  I know, I know, my computer skill-prowess continues to amaze.  Skip the flattery and ACT NOW.