The second blog you’ve all been waiting for…Meet my friend & blog-reader Susan from across the bay!

Susan D

Hello readers!  This is the second in a series of introductions.  Did you remember I promised (way back in August) to introduce you to some of the regular blog readers/commenters ?  The first one was Laurie Buchanan.  The second guest blog is written by my friend Susan–someone I actually know from our community–who lives across the Keweenaw Bay.  Please warmly welcome my dear friend.  I am still shaking my head that she shared our death story!!  (For any of you who are worried–we are both doing fine.  All that laughter healed us.)

It was a dark and stormy night. Really. Born in a blizzard on a Monday night, in Frankfort, Michigan, 60 ½ years ago, I’ve since lived in the following states, in this order: Lower Michigan, Florida, Connecticut, Florida, Virginia, Texas, California, and Upper Michigan.  No, I wasn’t a military brat; just the daughter of brilliant, zany parents (okay, Dad liked to drink) who liked to move a lot. I caught the gypsy-spirit and drinking genes, but managed to stay put at times for the sake of my twin daughters. Four years ago, I stuffed what fit into my car, sold the rest, bade farewell to CA, after 28 years, and arrived in the U.P. Why? One of my twins married a Yooper, who is never leaving the Yoop, and grandchildren appeared. 

My Double Blessings!

Finding employment poses problems in our otherwise lovely area. After a lifetime of working mainly in teaching and counseling, I found myself in a different social service position: clerking and stocking at Family Dollar. The stocking part was fun (I love organizing)! However, I’m no good at the register, and got hollered at for being too slow.

Here’s one of my life assessment tools: Observe how people treat clerks and wait staff. Based on whether or not they are kind to these hard-working folks, I sometimes eliminate friends and men from my life. Nothing brings out the true nature of humans more than the ways in which they interact with and treat so-called “peripheral people.” Conversely, the same can be said of how people treat their most significant others. Try using this barometer for gauging people’s authentic selves. It’s amazingly accurate!

Kathy and One Blessing

I’m getting to how I met Kathy, I promise. A position opened up at Arvon School, where Kathy is the Business Manager, and where my daughter was teaching, at the time. Thanks to her and to the lovely principal, I got the job. At first, Kathy thought I was quiet and reserved, and I thought that she looked quiet and reserved. HA – On both counts! If asked to pick one thing that birthed our friendship, I’d say it’s joy. Kathy’s very present during conversation and sharing. However, during our most serious of exchanges, we erupt in laughter over a turn of phrase or a facial expression, or nothing. Let me give you a sampling:

Some months ago, Kathy and I went on a short hike, followed by a fish dinner. Over the tasty fare, Kathy mentioned – with some hesitation – that she had the strangest sense that she might be dying. She spoke of unexplained body pain and a haunting sense that the end was near. My immediate reaction was acute relief. I’d been feeling the same way. Odd body pain in addition to  questions about being unexpectedly unemployed had me wondering if God was giving me time for “good-byes” and final amends-making. Neither Kathy nor I had uttered a word to anyone else about these thoughts. Perhaps five minutes passed as we shared our thoughts, including potential preparation plans for our families. Suddenly, laughter! Gut-wrenching guffaws echoed throughout the restaurant, punctuated by more serious talk, interrupted again by laughter. Laughter that continued on the drive home – slamming-on-the-brakes kind of laughter! Now, I ask you: Is there anything sweeter than this kind of friendship?

Kathy was delighted when I confessed to her that I often laugh at her blog posts. Her use of language is original and frequently tickles my funny bone. Both of my daughters also find Kathy funny and entertaining. I think a lot of you do, too!  Here is a good place to tell you how much I enjoy getting to know you all, through reading your comments to Kathy. What a wonderful on-line community of friends you’ve become to me!

What else do I want you to know about me?

Susan on our walk last June

–       I love football. Growing up in a rural part of Florida in the 50s and 60s, liking football was a requirement for residency. As a cheerleader, I learned the rudiments of the game when I discovered that guys really liked cute chicks who knew their football and wore short skirts. At the University of Florida, I was a Gators fan and remain one for life.

–       If you’ve ever seen the movie A Beautiful Mind, you’ve met my ex-husband, who is still the love of my life. He was a brilliant PhD chemist with bi-polar disorder. When our daughters were almost five, and a year after our divorce, he committed suicide. Those incredible daughters are the biggest blessings of my life!  And they look like their dad.

–       I gave up drinking 22 years ago and believe that alcoholism is a disease and is hereditary. I still smoke. Ouch. Don’t throw rotten tomatoes at me.

–       I don’t like Tupperware parties, candle parties, showers (bridal or baby), or phones.

–       I love fishing, swimming, hiking, gardening, cold snowy weather, book stores and hardware stores.

–       I am a poet, and I love to sing and strum my guitar.

–       I attract and get along well with teenagers. The more troubled, the better. What does that tell you about me?

Currently unemployed and seeking, I anticipate what’s next? At an age when slowing down ought to be on the horizon, food, shelter and staying close to family and my grandkids (one of each) top the list. Blessings, despite hardship and often in the forms of hardship, have followed me up to this point. Why would I expect anything less from this amazing life? Spending some time with you on this gorgeous autumn day has been delicious. Thank you for coming along. And, thank you, Kathy, for asking ….

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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33 Responses to The second blog you’ve all been waiting for…Meet my friend & blog-reader Susan from across the bay!

  1. Susan D – I LOVE WHAT YOU SAID:

    “Here’s one of my life assessment tools: Observe how people treat clerks and wait staff. Based on whether or not they are kind to these hard-working folks, I sometimes eliminate friends and men from my life. Nothing brings out the true nature of humans more than the ways in which they interact with and treat so-called “peripheral people.” Conversely, the same can be said of how people treat their most significant others. Try using this barometer for gauging people’s authentic selves. It’s amazingly accurate!”

    I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know your through Kathy’s blog. Thank you so much for sharing yourself.

    • Susan D says:

      Thank you so much, Laurie. Glad you agree with the “life assessment tool.” I’ve been astounded by observing friends (or fellows) whom I thought were some of the kindest people I knew until I saw how they treated “peripheral” others. Always a pleasure to see you, and thanks for breaking the ground for guest blogging here!

  2. Marianne says:

    Oh. My. Gosh. When I read the part about the “might be dying” part I said to myself, “That’s exactly what I go through.” It’s been happening off and on for several years now. I even have a sense of urgency about preparing my final wishes, etc. However, I also realized that it may be a indication to me that the old parts of “me” are “dying off”. I’m changing constantly, growing, evolving, learning new things, etc. Much of what you said, Susan, I too can relate to, such as, the drinking, smoking and the tragic loss of a loved one. I surrendered into sobriety and quit cigarettes years later. It’s really good to meet you Susan. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I honor your courage and wish you many more blessings.

    • Susan D says:

      Oh, hello, Sister in Sobriety! I honor your couage, as well, and your honesty! Isn’t it the sweetest relief to find out, once again, that we’re really not alone in our seemingly isolating experiences? Kathy and I both expressed trepidation about sharing “the death story” in public … and decided to let it stand, as surely others have been there. I think you’re right about our constantly changing, etc… and that our “old parts” do die, as we evolve. Thank you so much for what you shared with us today!

  3. Colleen says:

    Hi Susan D, I am SO delighted to meet you. It’s been such a pleasure, sharing Kathy’s on-line community with you. I always look forward to your thoughts and comments. And now I know why 🙂
    Thank you so very much…..and can relate to your story of a strange sense of dying. Love the laughter that you were both able to share over this!!

    • Susan D says:

      Hi, Colleen! I always enjoy your thoughts and comments, too. It is heartwarming to share friendships in Kathy’s community. Whew … breathing a sigh of relief as we discover another person who understands the “strange sense of dying” ~ thank you!

  4. Reggie says:

    Hello Susan! What an utter pleasure to get to know you this way through Kathy’s blog. I love how we are ‘meeting’ more and more of Kathy’s friends. It makes me feel as though we are all part of a warm community of really interesting and unique friends. Totally love the feeling. 🙂

    • Susan D says:

      Oh, Reggie, I totally agree with you about feeing that we are all part of a warm community of interesting and unique friends. I, too, love the feeling. And leave it to Kathy to attract such a variety of us 🙂

  5. Kiah says:

    Hi Susan! So nice to hear a little more about you than our brief grocery store encounter allowed. I’m glad you and my mum are able to share such a wonderful friendship with MUCH laughter. I’ll be home for Christmas, perhaps our paths will cross again soon!

  6. Susan D says:

    Kiah! Hi! I loved the brief grocery store encounter but so look forward to a longer one. Your mum – just thinking about her brings smiles and chuckles, and you’re such a lovely part of all the love and joy that she shares…

  7. Carol says:

    Susan, it has been such a pleasure getting to know you. Sometimes this adventure called life puts up more speed bumps than we’d like, but we come out of it much stronger. Good luck to you!

    Kathy, thank you for giving us the opportunity to get to know Susan. What a wonderful idea.

    • Susan D says:

      Thank you, Carol! Yes, speed bumps are grand teachers. I think we learn to stop tripping over them after a while 🙂

  8. Robin says:

    It’s wonderful to meet you, Susan. Kathy has such interesting friends. 🙂

    I like your life assessment tool. I used to work in a pharmacy (as a tech) and I discovered the same thing about people.

  9. Susan D says:

    Robin ~ yes, being a former pharm. tech I can only imagine your discoveries. I’ll bet you weathered the unkind people with flying colors. Thank you for your kindness here!

  10. flandrumhill says:

    Susan, your daughters are beautiful. If they’re the best of your past, just imagine what wonders your future holds. Hang in there!

  11. Kirk says:

    You are an amazing women cousin. Even I learned some new details about my favorite Yooper. Hardware stores? Thanks for the insights and by the way, I too have had strange aches and pains thinking God was giving me this time to prepare. Must come with turning double-nickles. Love from Ohio.

    • Susan D says:

      Kirk! Thank you so much for representing our family here! What a sweetie to pop in. What? You didn’t know I like hardware stores? mmmmm – I can smell ’em. Thank you, too, for sharing that you’ve also had the “maybe I’m dying” experiences. You’re a wonderful man, and cousin. Love you!

  12. It is wonderful to have these guest blogs so we can get to meet Kathy’s friends and fellow bloggers. Great to meet you Susan. I actually suffer from a form or Bipolar and uderstand that realm very well.

    I enjoy Kathy’s geniuine insightful stories that are funny, entertaining, and always a great way to learn that there are other thing’s to life than my somewhat cloistered life in the me,dical field.

    Thanks for sharing and I look forward to sharing more with you and Kathy.

    Laughter and seriuosness in a friendship are to be treasured……

    • Susan D says:

      Kimberly ~ I’m so grateful for your understanding about Bipolar disorder, and sorry that you suffer from a form of it. I wish you well with treating it and I’m sure that you’ve been a source of support and comfort for others. Kathy’s community here is a wonderful outlet, indeed, for all you stated. I, too, look forward to sharing more with you and appreciate your courage and honesty. Such a gift!

  13. Dawn says:

    Well I, for one, am extremely glad you two are NOT dying. At least not actively dying! And I can add that unemployment at our age is very tough. I hope you find something so that you can stay in that part of God’s Country! It’s a privilege to live there and not something I’d want you to have to give up if you want to stay. I admire you for packing up and heading north like that.

    Nice to get to know you!

    • Susan D says:

      Dawn ~ I chuckled at your statement about being glad that Kathy and I are not dying. Do you know that it took months for us to realize that we hadn’t checked back in with each other after our initial experience? Goodness. Well and thriving are we. Oh, I do so want to stay up here. It’s incredible, as you well know. Thanks for your kind thoughts. Look forward to more of your comments, as always….

  14. Robin says:

    Hi Susan!! What a delightful blog! It added depth and dimension to what I already know about you!! I do have to say that your “Life Assessment Tools” truly resonates with me. I couldn’t agree more! About 8 yrs ago, I was patiently waiting at the check out at a very well known grocery chain here. A male teenager was cashiering & was “learning the ropes”. His female mgr (much older and should have been wiser) approached him and began to berate him unmercifully, mind you, with a line of people behind me. He was visibly upset and embarrassed by her comments, knowing the rest of us witnessed it. (both of my children were teens at the time too). I checked out, watched her go back to her “post”. I walked towards the counter and asked her if she had a moment. I made sure no one else could hear the conversation. I politely told her how badly she humiliated that young man and that I felt she should apologize to him immediately. She agreed with me 100% of what she did and she realized it was wrong. I stood and watched as she went back to his line…she pulled him aside and to my amazement, she apologized to him, except this time, there were new customers waiting. They rec’d the good end of the situation!! This unfortunate situation has never left my thoughts and if I ever come across it again, I’ll do the same as I did then. Love to you Susan!!! btw, you are one amazing woman!!

  15. Susan D says:

    Robin ~ My Cousin-in-Law! Also representing the family! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your lovely story about a wrong made right in the treatment of others. I wish there were more like you to have the courage to speak up! What a wonderful example to all who witnessed your act, especially to your children. You’re a joy and a delight. Love to you, too, Lady.

  16. Kathy says:

    Thank you, again, Susan, for writing this guest blog. I admire your honesty, your courage, your friendship and–yes–your laughter. Thank you for agreeing to walk by the Sturgeon River Falls last night, and to go out to dinner, so we could get away from our computers! lol…

    Thank you also for everyone who has made Susan feel so warmly welcomed! I was hoping everyone would give her a huge hello and “pleased to meet you” and you did not disappoint. You blog readers/commenters are the best.

  17. Susan D says:

    Thanks again to you, Kathy, for the opportunity and for getting me away from the computer last evening! And thanks again to all who commented. Have a wonderful day 🙂

  18. Cindy Lou says:

    Hey guys! Isn’t it just lovely here in Kathy’s cozy living room in the woods? Miss Susan – what a delight you are! Your warmth and honesty and silliness shine through here as much as they do in real life 🙂 That’s part of what attracts the kids to you – thanx for sharing your life and your laughter with us! Love you!

  19. Karma says:

    Hi Susan, nice to meet you. Sorry I’m late to the comment party. It was really nice to read such an open and honest assessment of oneself. I wonder if I’d be capable of such a thing. Best wishes in your quest for those things that we all need.

  20. Susan D says:

    Cindy and Karma ~ Thank you both so much. You are both delightful and I love reading your comments here in “Kathy’s Living Room.” Have a wonderful evening!

  21. Gerry says:

    Hello Susan! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your guest post. It is a blister, isn’t it, leaving a community where you have a certain kind of identity and security and going to another one where it can be darned hard to make a living. What was I thinking? I say to myself, and then I take the dogs for a walk and look around me and remember what I was thinking. I wish you luck and laughter as you rummage around in the woods looking for the next path. I am sure there are excellent treats in store. You are just the person to recognize them, too.

  22. Susan D says:

    Gerry, you are utter delight. Thanks for making me laugh this morning and for your keen insight. Wish you could join us on one of those walks! Have an awesome day!

  23. Pingback: Crazy bloggin’ fool « Lake Superior Spirit

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