From the category archives:

What is Susan…

“My” Bear Show

by Susan on April 18, 2011

Here’s the latest opus from me and the folks at LMNO … It’s airing on Animal Planet Thursday 10pm et/pt but check your listings because these shows often air at odd times.  Look for “Breaking and Entering” — very sad, very interesting.The Bear Whisperer – Breaking and Entering

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Remembering Lila

by admin on May 7, 2010

A rare photo of Lila and all 3 of her kids

I was standing in the garden department at OSH marveling at all the flowery, strangely fulgent hanging baskets that had suddenly appeared just in time for Mother’s Day when my cell phone rang.  It was Rita Katsotis, an old work friend of my mother’s calling to say she’d just heard that Lila had passed away.  They’d lost touch after Lila went kicking and screaming into retirement and so Rita didn’t know Lila died in 2007.

     “Your mother was a real character,” Rita said. And I had to agree. [click to continue…]

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Pure Joy

by admin on April 22, 2010

I love these faces! Please click to enlarge.

Old Time music gets 5th graders jumping!

The next time someone asks me why a hardcore Angeleno and big time TV writer wants to shlep all the way to Sitka, Alaska and spend 2 weeks in an elementary school music room I will direct them to these 2 photographs.  It’s really hard to capture  the kind of magic that happens when kids feel old-time music in their bodies and let it out on the dance floor, but here it is.



Front Page News

by admin on April 21, 2010

My brother David sent me a message the other day asking if I was the mayor of Sitka yet.  Well, I don’t think I’m cut out for local politics but I did get myself on the front page of the Daily Sitka Sentinel.  It was a little bit thrilling to be front page news but I have to keep it in perspective.  The headline photo in yesterday’s paper was a guy laying the chalk lines on the field at Sitka High School.  My fifteen minutes of fame are definitely up.


Everybody Skip!

by admin on April 16, 2010

Keet Gooshi Heen Teachers (and some ringers)

The Virginia Reel - Click to enlarge

I am the luckiest woman on the planet!   I think I sang “I lost my partner, what’ll I do?  Skip to my Lou my darling!” about  500 times this week!   The world needs this amount of FUN all over the planet all the time!
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Raven Radio Star

by admin on April 14, 2010

Cable House -- Home of KCAW 104.7 Raven Radio, Sitka, AK - Click to enlarge

Very candid shot of me with Raven Radio host Robert Woolsey - Click to enlarge

Tuesday morning I was invited to do a radio interview at the local public radio station KCAW 104.7 aka Raven Radio.  The interview took up the 10-minute local news block during NPR’s Morning Edition which made me feel like something of a VIC –Very Important Caller!

Link to Radio Interview at end of Article

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The Funnest Day EVER!

by admin on April 12, 2010

Alaska Flight 67, Seat 6-A -- landing in Sitka, Alaska -- Click to enlarge

This was my first glimpse of Sitka landing on Sunday about 7:00 in the evening.   It had been a magical flight from Seattle — crystal clear and sunny (“We have visibility like this maybe 3 days a year,” the pilot reported from the flight deck).

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Sitka Alaska Bound

by admin on April 10, 2010

Sitka Harbor - Click to enlarge

I am on my way to Sitka, Alaska.  I’ll be there for 2 weeks teaching the children of Sitka (Grades 2-5) how to dance the contras, squares and play party games I love so much.  I’ve been to a lot of far-flung locations in my work as a writer, but never to Alaska.  I’m nervous and excited and ready for FUN. [click to continue…]

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Hiking Through Fire and Flood

by admin on February 14, 2010

The view from our corner. Click to enlarge

Last September, the Station Fire took its sweet time devouring just about every ounce of fuel in the Angeles National Forest.

The lazy, inexorable creep of smoke and flame lasted for more than 3 weeks and came within a few blocks of my house in La Crescenta, California. [click to continue…]


Groundhog Day Cupcakes

by admin on February 13, 2010

Groundhog Day is my favorite holiday.

It is the only holiday that is not political, religious, or involves candy. I know there was a bit of inconsequential political agitation this year to replace my beloved Punxsutawny Phil with a robotic groundhog but that seems to have met with an appropriately chilly reception. If groundhogs could give the finger, Phil surely would have.  But instead, the Prognosticator of Prognosticators simply saw his shadow and muttered under his breath … F— You … six more weeks of winter. [click to continue…]


Ever on the lookout for ways to make a living as a writer, I’ve been exploring the food writing niche. And after some diligent research, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’ll be close to impossible to make any dough at it.  There are already a million would-be M.F.K. Fisher’s out there on Chowhound, Zagat, Gayot, Yelp, etc. etc. etc. all working for free. I did find an online posting for a paying job writing original recipes that feature beer but it only pays 5 bucks a pop with a five recipe limit.  Puh-leeze.

MFK Fisher - awfully skinny for a food writer

And even if I could land a plum job writing for a “real” media outlet, I’d have to cultivate that bizarre foodie wordplay favored by writers like Irene Virbila of the Los Angeles Times.
In a recent review about the pretty delish downtown bistro Church and State, Irene described the escargot as “witty.”  Well, I don’t know about you but I don’t necessarily want my snails to be amusing or clever nor do they need to hold their own at the Algonquin roundtable.   [click to continue…]


Lady of the Lake Family Camp

Lady of the Lake Family Camp Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Ever since Sophie was 5 (she’s 16 now), we’ve been traveling to Lake Coeur d’Alene in the panhandle of Idaho for a magical week of folk-y fun at Lady of the Lake Family Camp. If you don’t know about Lady of the Lake, please visit their website. In the past, I’ve been a camper, a staff member, a caller, a mom, an all-around merrymaker and starting a few years ago at the urging of Penn Fix I began telling a story or 2 during the evening family gatherings. Now, for this year’s camp, I’ve been hired to be the full-time Lady of the Lake storyteller and I am TOTALLY PSYCHED! [click to continue…]


Susan Michaels and R. Lee Ermey filming on Iwo Jima

Susan Michaels and R. Lee Ermey filming on Iwo Jima Click PIC to enlarge

It’s all in a day’s — make that a fortnight’s — work for your favorite non-fiction TV writer.

Tonight on the Military History Channel at 10pm you can catch my fabulous Pentagon documentary written for the cranky yet lovable Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey.  If you know me, listen for the subtle clues that the archetypal hawkish Gunny’s words came out of the mind of a liberal, pacifist mom.
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Brother Al Michaels: Never met a Vegetable he could call a Friend

I’m thinking about my brother today; peerless NBC Sports play-by-play announcer, Al Michaels.

I’m using his hockey tickets tonight since he’s still wrapping up after the last NFL Game of 2009; the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Washington Redskins on NBC Sunday Night Football and I’m thinking that he’s a pretty great sports announcer, a pretty great brother, and a pretty picky eater.
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Happy Birthday, Gene Hubert

by admin on December 27, 2009

Gene HubertAfter writing more than 100 episodes of the TV show “Sightings,” I’ve gotten pretty cynical about mystical, metaphysical and “paranormal” phenomena.  But this morning I had a visitation from the spirit realm.  It started with a phone call at about 8:45 am.  As the phone rang, the computerized voice of my Caller ID intoned …

… Hubert Gene Hubert Gene Hubert Gene

Strange, I thought.   Gene Hubert died almost 4 years ago.

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Dance in the New Year in Magical Ojai

by admin on December 26, 2009

There is something about New Year’s Eve in Ojai that always makes me feel optimistic about the coming year.  The Ojai Art Center is cozy and filled with Ojai, Santa Barbara, and L.A. dancing friends.  Delicious home made treats in the hallway let you know we’re a tribe of gardeners, cheese makers, beekeepers, bakers, and artists.  The band is Bonfire who always set the place on fire and this year our dear sound guru Victor Garza will be joining on bass.  Our hostess with the mostest is Karin Dron who manages to create a home-y, welcoming atmosphere that’s so seamless we sometimes forget how much work she puts into making this dance something extra special.  We’re not the biggest dance in So Cal, but the joyful spirit in Ojai on New Year’s Eve is as big as our hearts.  Please come. [click to continue…]

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