About Me

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Born in Santa Monica, California, I was raised in the small bedroom community of Sunkist Park that borders Culver City, Playa del Rey, Mar Vista and Venice. I attended Venice High School, West LA Community College and California Institute of the Arts. My studies included English, English Literature, Poetry, Creative Writing, Choir, Classical Voice, Shakespeare, Musical Theater, Television and Film Acting and Art History. In 1980, I relocated to the Pacific Northwest and in 1982 I married Kurt Wolf in Corvallis, Oregon. During the course of our long journey together, I have remained devoted to not only my husband, but to my friends and family, and the arts. What defines me most is my passion for expression through art. I’m an avid reader, writer and poet.I also enjoy painting and photography. Additionally, some folks consider me a pretty good cook.

Email Susie Rosso Wolf

If you have any questions about "New Prairie Woman", "Saving Susie", my "Phoetry", Montana, or writing in general, please email me directly at: GrumpySusie@msn.com — Looking forward to hearing from you. I hope you enjoy "New Prairie Woman". ~ Susie

Thursday, July 28, 2011

06.S02 Chapter Six, Snippet Two

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Six, con't

The night ended in an anticlimax as we drove through the gate and into the driveway. Our dogs, Cutter, Lilly and Dinky, were barking their heads off obviously happy to see their masters after so many hours alone. Kurt helped me out of the truck while the doggie tales wagged from side to side and Lilly howled like a wolf in prissy complaint. We unloaded the truck of the tailgate party remnants then all three dogs sat perfectly still right in front of the cookie can, telling me it was time to give them some well-deserved attention and reward for being such good dogs. Three cookies each, then it was time to check my gardens and have a soak in the Jacuzzi so we could relax and I could loosen up my stiff and aching body from that long drive up and back. My left knee had locked up and became swollen on the way home, so all I could think about was getting into that hot water.  But the moment I walked down the Jacuzzi steps the phone rang. I turned sharply to head back into the family room and picked the phone up on the fourth ring. It was Jo.
“I’m sorry to call so late but I couldn’t go to sleep without asking how everything went out there in Ontario?”
“It was grand, Jo. Surreal beyond words. I’m floating on air, and can’t believe we just had an evening with Robert, his mom and his children! It was amazing, Jo! Amazing!”
“He was nice to you?”
“Yes! He was nice, and sociable, and he was even sweet and kind.”
“This is great news, Susie! Well, get some rest now and we can talk tomorrow, you can tell me all about it in the morning. Do you want to come over for some fresh orange juice?”
“Sure! Just give me a call when you’re ready and maybe we can go for a walk too, I need a good stretch of the legs after all of this sitting.”
“Okay Honey, I’ll call you in the morning. I’m glad you guys had a good time and made it back in one piece.”
“Thanks Jo, we’ll talk in the morning!”
Back outside, Kurt was waiting for me in the Jacuzzi. The moon was full and the air was warmer now that the winter rain was far behind us. The fragrance of my roses filled the late night air and helped to relax both of us. There were even a couple of stars visible in the smog filled sky over San Fernando.
“Look how bright that star is up there Kurt!” He looked up to study the star shining so brightly.
“Sorry Baby, that’s not a star, it’s a satellite.”
“Oh you’ve got to be kidding! That’s so disappointing…”
I drifted off in thought about the fragility of life and how up and down it all is. One moment we are shining stars in the sky and the next moment we are crying devastated over a loss or illness or break up or the fact that life can be just plan hard. We went to bed an hour later after a snack of milk and the last of the biscotti.
The next morning, as promised, I enjoyed a large glass of fresh squeezed orange juice from the delicious oranges picked an hour earlier off of Ralph and Jo’s orange trees. Jo was snacking on a bowl of shelled walnuts and almonds which she shared with me and added raisins to them. It was a healthy lite breakfast before our long walk. Jo was absolutely captivated as I gave her a detailed editorial of our reunion with Robert.

Friday, July 22, 2011

06.S01 Chapter Six, Snippet One

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Six

              While crawling back to Northridge in traffic jammed up for unending miles I quietly sat shotgun as Kurt drove Blackie with great concentration. I wondered if he was reflecting on the miracle of love that we had just experienced together, or was he too much of a man’s man to be devoured by something so wonderful? After twenty-four years of marriage I had come to understand that my husband was not an emotional person unless he was pushed over the edge by an intense situation so moving that he was unable to hold onto that manly man kind of control that I could never possess myself. I caught myself watching him as he drove, unable to contain my curiosity.

“What are you thinking?”
“Nothing, I’m driving.”
“But aren’t you thinking anything?”
“No, I’m driving.”
“So, what you’re saying is that your mind is blank while you drive?”
“Well it was until you interrupted me.”
“I’ve never heard of a person who has a completely blank mind.”
“Susie, what are you doing? Can I just drive the truck, please?”
“But, don’t you want to talk about it?”
“Talk about what? I’m driving.”
“About what just happened back there in Ontario!”
“He arrived. We saw him. We fed him. Everything went well. We heard his story about Montana. We put them back on the plane and now we’re going home. What else is there to say?”
“You know, you’re a real buzz-kill.”
“I told you, I’m driving.”
I let out a huff and puff as I changed my position in the seat. Looking out the window, watching thousands of cars driving by I wondered about Robert’s life in Montana. He appeared to have changed a great deal. He’s calmer and happier than I’ve seen him in many years, minus the years I didn’t see him at all. But the change in him was visible. Montana seemed to suit him. And his description of his land and home and his girlfriend and the scenery sounded too good to be true. His town, Three Forks, sounded like something out of a movie; one Main Street, one small local grocer, gas station, post office, saddlery, dentist office, pizza joint, hotel and hardware store. The population for Three Forks and its outskirts of about 25 square miles totaled 1900 souls. There were more than 1900 people on Napa Street, Shoshone and Raymer! I imagined Robert doing business in Three Forks, wearing his Wrangler Jeans with a tin of chew in the back pocket, his boots and cowboy hat, and his cowboy attitude. He was living life slow and easy out there, alongside simple folk living a simple life. I admired him for that, and was intrigued by his decision to leave Los Angeles, again.

Monday, July 18, 2011

05.S04 Chapter Five, Snippet Four

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Five, con't

              Love parties. Off the top, it was somewhat shocking to me that Robert had passed this Rosso family tradition down to his children. It seemed remarkable that the love he learned from my mother and father while he was barely able to talk was something that remained instilled in him today, even after his startling transformation from the sweet, loving, darling boy, to the man he seemed to be now. Or, was I wrong about him? Is it possible that I have figured him completely and utterly insanely wrong? Have I lost my mind or did the man who ripped our hearts out, have a heart, after all? Love parties were a celebration of our love for one another during the time period of my mother’s last days with us, before she passed. Too ill to leave her room, we would gather as a family climbing into bed with Mother and onto Father’s bed too while we watched television, ate popcorn or ice cream or whatever we had on hand. It wasn't at all about the food, but rather, being together; we would laugh and tell jokes and play pranks and basically bond with love for each other. It was a special time that my mother enjoyed and looked forward to so we had the love parties as often as possible, mostly on the weekends. It was a long time ago, when life was simple and sweet. Evidently, so sweet that Robert never forgot the love he was given and the love that he gave. The term “love party” was created by Mother; it was what she would say when she needed love and attention. “Come in and visit with me, and let’s have a love party!” And so we would spend time together, with Mother, as we bonded as a family.
            And now, I sit in an airport with Robert’s small angelic children climbing onto my lap and Kurt’s lap and Brenda’s lap, back and forth to share their love in our own little airport love party. Asking questions about “Grandpa Rosso and Grandma Rosso” and if we are a “good family” or if we are a “bad family” and questions about “how did he die?” and “how did she die?” as they looped their arms and hands through mine and Kurt’s hands intertwining us back into the possibility of love, that everlasting love that knows no judgment, no ridicule, no hatred, no animosity, no selfishness, no greed, no betrayal. Their love was penetrating. Creating a surreal forgiveness that washed away all sin, all accusations, all blame.
            After nearly forty minutes of waiting, it was I, who first noticed the brim of a white straw cowboy hat before the others. “There he is,” came out of my mouth with an “Oh my God” under my breath. “Look up, Snowflake,” I said now more audibly.
            “Daddy! Daddy!” They both screamed as they ran to the escalator. His feet just landed on the top step as he looked out and then down to the row of chairs we were seated on and in that millisecond, I knew that Brenda had informed him that we were coming to see him. His eyes connected with mine for just a blink, and then he dropped them down in a strange, uncomfortable kind of manner that was bordering on guilt and shame. Maybe it was me, maybe I was all wrong about it and wanted to see that within him, but to this day I’ll swear on wild horses that the man felt shame for what he had done and was in shock that we were there to repair what had been broken. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind though that he had expected to see us. I knew, I felt it in my bones, I just knew that she had spilled her guts but I didn’t hold it against her, at the time anyway. I understood the mother’s loyalty to her son and I could even respect that. And I knew it was going to be okay the moment he flashed the smile of contentment that he could not control. No matter how big or strong or manly he may have been. He may have become some kind of Montana cowboy now, but he could not hide his pleasure in the fact that we were there, loving him. The gleam in his eyes said it all as he picked his girls up, one in each arm, and they wrapped their arms around his huge neck and shoulders. He walked forward towards the three of us, now standing to greet him and while still holding onto the girls he bent down to embrace me. It was one of the great times in a person’s life, one tiny moment that goes down in the history books of one’s own legacy as the most unforgettable Moses parting the seas kind of experiences. Indeed, to this day, I have never forgotten the act that wiped the slate clean with love.
            Kurt extended his hand to shake Robert’s while Cricket latched onto Robert with her legs and arms, safe now in her daddy’s embrace. Robert leaned in to hug Kurt while Brenda stood back with tears pouring down her face as she muttered, “Thank you Jesus, I praise you, Jesus,” over and over and over again. We were all crying, actually, and so many people looking on appeared to be in awe of what was taking place, as if they knew something very special was happening.
            Once we all landed on the ground and came back to reality, we stood and chatted about nothing important for a few minutes then I asked Robert if he was hungry. His face burst into a broad smile; the final clue that indicated to me that he knew what was waiting for him in Blackie.
            “I brought you a bite to eat if you have time in between your flights.”
            “Thanks, Aunt Susie, I have plenty of time and I’m starving, all I had on the plane was peanuts.”
            “Well then, let’s make our way out to the parking lot and get this party started!” The girls screamed in agreement with me as Robert finally placed them both on the ground. Snowflake raised her arms back up to him as she pouted a little whimpering sound, wanting to go back up into his strong grasp.
            “Honey, I can’t carry you two all the way out to their truck.”
                 “Yes you can!” They both cried together. And we all laughed as he held onto their hands and Brenda led the way out the automatic sliding door and into the night air.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

05.S03 Chapter Five, Snippet Three

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Five, con't

              The girls came running over to Uncle Kurt as he got out of the truck and Brenda was opening my door to help me out. I reached over to the back seat and pulled my Canada crutch up and pointed it her way. Brenda grabbed onto the tip of the crutch and put it down on the ground for me to grab onto. Once I was out of the truck I turned to looked her square in the eye. “Brenda, tell me one more time that you did not tell Robert that we’re coming to see him.”
               “No Sue, I swear, I only told him that there would be a big surprise but I didn’t say anything about you guys.”
            “And the girls? You don’t think they spilled the beans?”
            “Sue, stop stressing! It doesn’t matter! You’re here! That’s all we care about!” I exhaled with exasperation and felt that old lack of trust creep into my common sense. But in the end, I supposed that it didn't really matter. What mattered was that we were making an attempt to bury the hatchet. So I dropped the subject and ended my intuitive instinct to probe the facts. My inner voice, however, continued to doubt her word and I did suspect that she spoke to Robert about our coming to greet him as his flight arrived. Losing control of the situation was difficult for me, being the control freak that I am, but trying to control Brenda was an impossible task. I smiled, held onto my crutch and gave Brenda a loving embrace.
            “Who wants a cookie?” I asked. The girls both came running as I lifted a food storage bag full of my home made biscotti from the back seat.
            “What’s this Aunt Susie?” Snowflake asked.
            “Biscotti,” I told her as Cricket looked on with fascinated eyes.
             I've never seen a pissgoti before.”
            “No? Oh, that’s tragic,” I said. “That’s just not right. All little Italian girls should have biscotti, it’s a must, a tradition, a law!”
            “It’s something Italian?” Cricket asked.
            “Yes it is, oh yes, and a very important food group of the Italian diet! Coffee and Espresso simply isn't the same without biscotti to go along with it.” Handing both girls a chocolate, chocolate chip almond biscotti, their eyes grew larger and their smiles were bursting at the seams of their beautiful little mouths. Cricket put the biscotti up to her nose to sniff it before taking a bite while Snowflake bit one end of hers and began chewing.
            “This is really good, Aunt Susie, I can’t believe I’ve been missing this all my life,” Snowflake proclaimed. Cricket bit a tiny little taste then took off a large chunk while rolling her eyes in her funny comical way that I was growing accustomed to.
            “Hey! Where’s mine?” Brenda grabbed the bag out of my hand and dove into it and pulled out two for her.
            “You are a really good cook Aunt Susie, what else is in that box back there?”
            “Well, Cricket, I brought some food for your daddy that he really likes, I thought we could have a little party out here after his plane lands.” Cricket looped her arm through her sisters arm and both girls began jumping up and down like they were riding on pogo sticks.
            “We’re having a party!” Snowflake screamed. “We’re having a love party, a love party with Daddy!”
            “Love party? Where did you get that expression from?” I asked.
            “Hugh?” She moaned out.
            “Who taught you about love parties?”
            “Daddy has love parties with us all the time.”
            “Yes, we have love parties all the time.” Cricket said, agreeing with her sister as she helped herself to another biscotti from the bag, then putting one arm through my arm, clinging to me, pressing her love into my heart. Snowflake followed her little sisters lead and slid onto my left side, pushing the crutch out of her way and suddenly both of my darling little angel nieces were hugging onto me, loving me, with the truest, purest love I have ever felt in my life. The depth of their feelings moved me to tears, uncontrollable tears that rolled down my face as joy leapt from my heart. Kurt and Brenda watched as Snowflake and Cricket washed away all of my stress, nervousness and fear. They held onto me for what seemed like an eternity as the love filled me up with a forever kind of feeling. The kind of feeling that never goes away no matter what happens to you or where you go, whatever road you travel in life whether that road be uphill or downhill, you will always have that moment to reflect on and feel the joy over and over again. The love they gave to me that day carried me on the long walk from the parking lot to the airport entrance. Kurt led the way to the area where Robert would be arriving and we all sat down in wide, comfortable, black chairs that were lined up against a window. The seats faced the down escalator that passengers rode from upstairs at the departure gates. We sat down, and waited. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

05.S02 Chapter Five, Snippet Two

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Five, cont'd.

             We spent about an hour in the restaurant killing time while entertaining the girls. Kurt went through an entire roll of quarters trying to win stuffed toys from a machine. Cricket laughed at his lack of skills and pushed him out of the way to commandeer the controls. In under a minute she had a giant yellow duck in her hands, leaving Uncle Kurt in the dust! He played with them so well; it was easy to see his love for both of them. I was touched by the attention he paid to my great nieces. And while he doted on the darling little angels, Brenda and I couldn't help but talk about the old days, remembering so many of our antics together, while drinking more coffee and wishing I had ordered something to eat. But before we knew it the time had come to head out to the parking lot; we would follow Brenda over to the airport as we were unfamiliar with the area and then she would follow us inside the parking lot so that Kurt could find a suitable parking spot, one that was as far enough away from other cars as possible so that no one would scratch his beloved Blackie. During the drive over, my hands were soaked in perspiration and I couldn't stop picking at my fingernails. Feeling like a caged animal, I desperately wanted to get out of that truck. Filled with anxiety, I began to panic. “What if this all goes wrong? What if he looks at us grabs the girls by the hand and drags them off in anger?”           

            “Think positive,” Kurt said.
            “Okay,” I whispered as I looked out the window while fear grabbed hold of my voice. It was all coming down to this now. This was my make it or break it moment when I would know unequivocally, if peace would find a home in our mutual hearts.
            “Take it easy Baby,” Kurt said so gently.
            “I’m trying.”
            “Just breathe Susie, it’s going to be okay.” A moment later he opened his cigarette case and pulled out a smoke pole and put it to his lips.
            “You’re not smoking that thing in here,” I demanded, and he shot me a look of disdain. He rolled down his window then lit the cigarette. The smoke blew right into the cab of the truck which sullied my mood. “You know you can’t smoke anywhere near me, what are you doing?”
            “Would you just relax? You’re making me nervous!”
            “Put that thing out or I’ll make hamburger meat out of you in a minute!”
            “Susie, knock it off,” he said as he snuffed the smoke out with the fingertips of his left hand out the window.
            “I don’t know how you can do that Kurt. How can you touch that hot burning coal?”
            “I’ve been doing it most of my life.” I looked at him and felt bad, knowing the chains that bound him to the habit. I stopped nagging him just as Brenda turned into the Ontario Airport parking lot. She pulled up to a parking ticket booth and we pulled in right behind her. Snowflake and Cricket both turned around in their seats to look at us and waved with comical exhilaration. Brenda paid for her ticket, then moved forward and pulled over to the side of the right lane. We paid and pulled through then she fell back in line and followed us to the back of the lot. Side by side, our vehicles were finally there. I sat for a long moment in meditation, praying silently to Divine Mother, asking for calming peace to fill me up and settle me down as my nerves were jumping a mile a minute now. Peace in, harmony out, peace in, harmony out…I blew each breath with this mantra until I settled down a little. Kurt looked at me then held my hand. We both sat silently for another long moment.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

05.S01 Chapter Five, Snippet One

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Five

              Friday night traffic heading inland from Northridge was the worst case of hell I could think of, other than undergoing another surgery. Kurt and I trudged along in Blackie, bumper to bumper, while the fresh baked manicotti and garlic bread that sat in a heavy cardboard box on the floor in the back seat replaced the new car smell of the leather interior of our 2005 Ford F150. Two dozen over-stuffed shells lay side by side in the large tray and were put to bed under the rich red cover of my finest sauce, then covered in mozzarella and provolone cheese. The aroma was almost too much to ignore but my stomach was flip flopping from intense anticipation so food was actually the last thing on my mind. Nearly two hours had passed by the time we pulled into the designated Denny’s Restaurant where Brenda, Snowflake and Cricket were waiting for us to arrive. We parked in front of a large window and I could see the girls playing a game on an arcade style machine. I walked up to the little sidewalk between the truck and the glass and tapped on it. Cricket turned and looked right at me and immediately grabbed her sister and began to scream as they both jumped up and down. I could see them run for the door and it was when their arms embraced us that the hell from the long drive swiftly became heaven.
            Brenda was sitting at a table drinking a cup of coffee and working on a grilled sandwich and fries. She stood up the moment she saw us walking toward her, looking like she too, had seen paradise. She was absolutely beautiful, glowing from joy, she simply radiated. Her heightened spirit was contagious as we all smiled broad smiles, laughed, hugged and caused quite the commotion. The late for dinner crowd watched closely as our little family rejoiced in the momentous occasion. The waitress came with menus but neither of us ordered anything except a coffee for me and a glass of milk for Kurt. The girls had plates of food from the children’s menus sitting in front of them but they were only picking at their meal of chicken fingers and fries. Ceremoniously, Brenda insisted that we all join hands to say a quick prayer of thanks for this miraculous event that was about to happen in just under two hours’ time. “Father God,” she prayed with her eyes clamped shut and her southern drawl heavy, “thank you Father for bringing us all together again and thank you for your loving grace. Lord, you know the work you’ve done to make this night happen and we most humbly ask you now, Lord, to grace us one more time with a good and loving reunion of these two special people and my son. Please God, let there be love and peace in our family tonight. We ask you this in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
            “Amen,” we all said.
            “Amen,” I whispered mostly to myself, while my face began to hurt from smiling so much. It was a wonderful, thrilling feeling, knowing I’d be seeing Robert again. Surprised by my decision to take this leap of faith, I sat in awe of the collective energy and jubilance that we all felt. Even Kurt, who is usually difficult to read, was excited and it showed in his grin from ear to ear and in his sparkling blue eyes. He squeezed my hand under the table, reassuring me that it would all be okay, telling me in his quiet way, that something wonderful was about to happen.

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